Email is set to become more personalized, interactive, intelligent, and experiential: Netcore Cloud

Email is one of the most trusted channels for marketers to connect and convert customers into loyalists. Post, the email world has evolved pandemic. We’ve seen pivotal shifts in email marketing strategies and innovations that are creating a fresh experience in the user’s inbox.

Netcore Cloud, the global leader in customer retention and engagement is pleased to launch the second edition of email benchmark report. Netcore cloud sends billions of emails every month. This edition analyzes over 100 billion emails across 22 major industries including, BFSI, Retail, E-commerce, Food, etc and showcases the findings.

In an interaction with CXO Today, Chaitanya Chinta, Global Head – Email Business, Netcore Clouddiscusses more about the report and the role played by AI and emerging technologies to improve customer experience.

  1. What are the key findings of Email Benchmark Report 2022 and the methodology adopted?

There are a lot of metrics available for a marketer for their campaigns, but a constant question that bothers every marketer out there is how their stats compare to others in the industry. What kind of engagement rates should they be looking for? What inbox rate is a good one?

Netcore cloud sends billions of emails every month and we analyze tons of data to draw meaningful insights for our customers. The second edition of the email benchmark report is an attempt to analyze 100 billion emails sent through Netcore cloud across 22 major industries including BFSI, Retail, E-Commerce, Food-tech etc. And draw insights that could help marketers compare their metrics with global benchmarks and understand the latest trends and innovations in email.

Marketing in the post pandemic world was like the wild wild west. More so, for email marketing. The increased need for customer reach and D2C brands transcending from offline to digital channels, have increased the email budgets overall. With brands pumping more emails, we’ve seen an average user getting over 35% more emails in their inbox than before. To get user attention in a crowded inbox, we’ve seen brands pivoting their email strategies.

Increased adoption of personalization, AI based audience selection, journey orchestration, AMP for email, etc are proving this fact.

There is also growing awareness around user privacy due to Apple Privacy Regulations.

Some Key Insights:

  • Email delivery rate – Email deliverability rate is defined as the amount of email reaching users inbox folder and not spam folders. This was the highest for the retail industry at 98.6% followed by the food tech/ food delivery industry at 98%. Foodtech grew positively during 2021 due to intermittent lockdowns and restrictions on social mobility. It has also been observed that entertainment/ media over-the-top (OTT) companies have the lowest deliverability with an average of 77%. Region wise, Africa has showcased the best deliverability rate at 98%, followed by SEA at 97%. Most marketers struggled to get their email to inbox at Outlook.
  • Average Open Rate – The Average Open Rate across all industries stayed at 16%. Work-from-home scenario has pushed engagement from industries like Home & Garden (38.5%), Hobbies & Leisure (25.7%) through the roof. Dating followed the suit with an average of 27% open rate. With the introduction of Apple’s new privacy regulations, open rate is turning more into a vanity metric. At Netcore, we track only human interactions for reporting and for the purpose of this report.
  • Email bounce rate – The Average Bounce Rate stood at 0.7%. While these differs from industry to industry, we’ve seen that D2C brands have encountered high bounce rates in the initial days of their email marketing. Having high bounce rates impacts your sender reputation and lowers the probability of delivering emails to inbox. General direction is to keep them as low as possible. There are some good practices to collect and validate email addresses to ensure you get the email ID of the intended
  • AMP for email Adoption – In last year’s email benchmark report, we predicted that AMP for email adoption would see an increase this year and we’ve exactly witnessed that. Banking and E-Commerce were at the forefront in terms of AMP for email adoption. The ability to short-circuit customer journeys and get simple interactive actions done on email has given a tremendous booster to campaign performance. The banking industry has used AMP for emails to create engaging surveys and KYC forms to be answered within the email. Ecommerce marketers are using AMP for abandoned carts, shopping carts, and review use cases that have provided promising results.

The emails considered for this product have been sent by Netcore’s CEE platform using journey orchestration, broadcast and triggered via email API. The inbox placement results are generated from proprietary in-house tools. Each of the brands analyzed in the report sends at least 10 million emails per month, providing us with sizable sample data.

  1. Last year, you predicted that email personalization would become a necessity rather than a best practice. How did you see the year progressing?

Email personalization is all about creating a unique experience for the user according to their preferences. Even in our day-to-day conversations, the more we know about a person, the better we interact with them. Same applies to the email world. You know only the first name of the person behind the email ID, you personalize email by calling the user by their name – this is simple. But, if you know about their preferences like recent products browsed, interests, special days in their lives, etc. You can create a much richer experience for your users. Brands use all the data about their user at their disposal, condense them to create an unified view and construct a campaign that appeals to that particular user. We’ve seen an evolution in brands personalization strategies from basic to advanced personalization to create richer customer experience. Brands improved their engagement by 30% and reached by 35% by evolving their personalization strategies.

  1. How is the adoption of AI and emerging technologies helping brands improve their marketing and customer experience (CX)?

AI in email marketing is an umbrella covering several modules that empower marketers with better insights about their customers, select the right audience, build better content, simplify long or repetitive tasks, and improve decision making.

Wherever AI simplified marketers’ life and increased ROI, we’ve seen increased adoption rates – like predictive segments for a campaign, preferred channel of a user, subject line optimization etc. This is followed by AI powered email delivery which increases user reach.

Send Time Optimization (STO) is another technology that, when implemented right, delivers amazing results for brands. The BFSI sector in particular has benefited from an uplift in their email open rates due to STO.

AMP for email brings interaction in the Inbox. The interaction opens up a whole world of possibilities with email like real-time content in email, preference management, gamification, interactive chat in email, etc which were impossible before. Last year, we’ve seen an increased adoption of AMP for email and this year, we will continue to see its evolution. Ecommerce brands are at the forefront in terms of AMP for email adoption.

Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) standard allows brands to display authenticated emails with certified logos in the inbox. This improves credibility and trust among the subscribers and enables positive branding.

A very important and sure-shot way to provide safety and create a sense of credibility for emails is by implementing email authentication. Authentication methods like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC allow recipients to verify that the email has come from a genuine sender. This helps in blocking spam and avoids phishing, spoofing, and other cybercrime. This greatly improves trust and makes the recipient feel safe and confident with the brand.

  1. Action plan for marketers in 2022 and beyond?

While marketers strive to achieve top-of-mind recall with their customers, they need to continue emracing AI-powered tools for making informed and data-driven decisions in order to create successful email campaigns. It is imperative that marketers ensure that no international and regional privacy guidelines are violated, and the focus is on individual user privacy while creating campaigns.

Also, as first-party data becomes, unreliable, it will be important to collect zero-party data to make informed marketing decisions. Last year, Apple launched its Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) feature. A direct impact of this will be marketers noticing inflated open rates, hampering the data they gather. To navigate through this, marketers need to consider metrics like clicks for measuring the success of a campaign. It would be ideal to segregate Apple users and non-Apple users to improve the accuracy of the data.

Finally, towards standing out from the plethora of emails that customers receive daily, it is important for marketers to become storytellers and weave narratives through their email content. This, coupled with interactive emails powered by AMP for email will improve engagement rates remarkably. For any marketing campaign, it is important to understand the pulse of the consumer. Ideally, it is the consumers themselves who can share their preferences via preference centers, signup forms, and social media. This will allow the marketer to profile the consumers.

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