Email engagement, often discussed now defined

Everyone wants it, but there is no industry consensus on the best way to measure it. I’m talking about engagement in the email channel.

Take an example, a fashion brand might send two or three emails per week. It’s not realistic to expect that most people are going to be interested in buying a new fashion item every week or even to review offers each week.

Just because someone is not in the mood to buy or look at current offers does them make them no longer engaged with a brand? Of course not, they gave permission to receive the emails, they showed engagement, ignoring a few emails does not mean a lack of engagement.

Classically campaign open and click rates are used to judge engagement. This was fine when brands sent one campaign per month. Email volumes have increased considerably in the last five years but metrics have not moved on.

A re-think is needed as the classic metrics measure campaigns not customers and as a result promote the wrong behaviour in email marketing.

Its customers that need to be engaged so measuring campaigns makes no sense, its customers that should be measured.

I’ve been working on a paper, along with my fellow DMA Email Council hub members, Dela Quist, Skip Fidura and Kath Pay. The paper goes to the core of how to measure customer engagement in the email channel and delivers a verdict, based on analysis of brand data.

The paper has been put together to kick-start the discussion in the email industry about just what should be measured and the debate is starting at Email Evolution 2013 conference in Miami this week. For DMA blog readers we’re releasing the paper to you ahead of the event.

I hope you download the paper and find it thought provoking. If you leave a comment one of the paper authors will reply.

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Tim Watson

About Tim Watson

Tim Watson has over 8 years experience in B2B and B2C Digital Marketing, helping blue chip brands with successful email marketing.

He is an elected member of the UK DMA Email Council, supporting the email marketing industry. Tim Chairs the Legal and Best Practice hub of the Email Council, authoring and reviewing DMA whitepapers and best practice documentation. He is also a frequent speaker and blogger on emerging email marketing trends.

Tim works as an independent email marketing consultant providing strategic support to email marketing teams.

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