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Trigger Emails Score 119% Higher Click Rates Than “Business as Usual” Messages

Trigger Emails Score 119% Higher Click Rates Than “Business as Usual” Messages

Trigger Emails Score 119% Higher Click Rates Than “Business as Usual” Messages

Numbers, and more numbers: The Direct Marketing Association‘s (DMA) Email Experience Council, in conjunction with Epsilon, released the Q1 2012 North America Email Trends and Benchmarks report on June 20.

The news about what we send: A 21.4% increase over Q1 2011. If you’re sending more email than at this time last year, you’ve got plenty of company. But here’s the important part:

What are people doing with what we send them? 

  • Open rates increased quarter over quarter (5.9%) and increased year over year (12.6%), with an overall open rate of 26.2%.
  • Click rates decreased 0.5 percentage points (8.3% overall) from last quarter to 4.7%. Click rates also decreased over Q1 2011 (5.2%), but continue to remain established over the last two years.
  • In Q1 2012, triggered messages* accounted for 2.3% of total email volume, a 14.5% lift over Q1 2011.
  • Open rates for triggered messages were 75% higher than “business as usual” (BAU) in Q1 2012, dropping from 101% in Q1 2011.
  • Triggered messages continued to perform well with significantly stronger click rates (119% higher) than BAU.

*Results track campaigns deployed as a result of an action or trigger, including Welcome, Thank You, Abandoned Shopping Cart, Anniversary, Birthday, Purchase/Transaction Confirmation and Saved Cart.

So it all rolls up to this: email marketing still works. And trigger emails work best of all.

To learn more about Act-On’s trigger email capabilities and integrated marketing automation solution, register for our weekly marketing automation demo, or contact our friendly sales team for a personalized one-to-one demo.


  • Wow, I’m surprised – and happy – to hear that open rates are improving across the board.

    I’m a little confused by “Open rates for triggered messages were 75% higher than ‘business as usual’ (BAU) in Q1 2012, dropping from 101% in Q1 2011.” Does that mean that the gap between the open rates of normal and triggered emails is smaller than it was in Q1 2011? So triggered emails are better than BAU emails, but they were even better than normal ones last year?

    • Kristina, it looks like Business As Usual is going up, rather than triggered emails going down. In the report, Jennifer Wiese says: “One reason] BAU opens are going up [could be] because of mobile…and maybe because of mobile, too, clicks are going down. Epsilon’s study found that click rates decreased from last quarter to 4.7%.” (More info here).

      So it’s not unmixed, but overall, email continues to produce. And triggered email (because of the personalization component, is my thought) does quite well. I imagine we’ll keep seeing more analysis as people begin to parse the stats; we’ll keep you posted. Thanks for your comment!— Cheers, Sherry