Kevin Goddess discusses the growth of online video and the opportunity for brand's willing to...
Are You Still Reporting Your Open Rate?
“What was the open rate?” That question comes up often when evaluating the success of digital marketing campaigns. Yet the rapid evolution and diversification of technology makes it difficult to measure engagement, let alone to build consensus about what constitutes success. In fact, as Diaz Nesamoney recently asserted in Marketing Daily, interactive advertising and touchscreen mobile devices may render process metrics (open rates, click-through rates and more) irrelevant.
There is a common misconception that open rates are a valid statistic to use in determining the effectiveness of e-mail marketing campaigns, but this measurement is far from absolute. Open rates are measured by HTML tags embedded in outgoing e-mails, which request a returned image to record that e-mail as “open.”
The problem with the methodology, as B2B marketing veteran Howard J. Sewell points out on The Spear Marketing Group Blog, is that services like Outlook and Gmail now give e-mail recipients the option to turn off images or scroll through e-mails in a preview pane, thereby reading the entire message without opening it. So, no image return is initiated and your systems don’t register an “open” e-mail, even though your message has likely been received and reviewed.
Click-through rates are better at capturing consumer engagement, but are a limited measurement of intent. Online search, banner advertising and some e-mail campaigns rely on the user to click on an ad or link to go to a landing page containing more information or a call-to-action.
Nesamoney cautions against confusing clicking with interest. Some users may be clicking to get an ad to stop playing or to move beyond where they landed to find content that truly interests them. He goes on to note that the action of clicking itself is outdated when it comes to the new technology used in mobile touchscreen devices like the iPad or iPhone.
The Bottom Line
Looking for trends across several e-mail or digital campaigns, including trends in “desired result” metrics such as program registrations or product purchases, provides a better indication of success than an isolated sampling of process metrics does. And, that technique is likely to grow in importance as methods of online and mobile digital interaction continue to diversify and increase in complexity.