Email Marketing campaign changes over the last five years

Email marketing is constantly changing. It remains one of the most popular ways for brands to interact with their client base, whilst also attracting and retaining new business. In fact, the only digital tool MORE popular than email marketing is SEO – for the most obvious reason – Google’s number 1 spot.

According to a recent study by Return Path, since 2008, marketers are asking for more data than ever. The study focused on comparing email marketing company’s actions in 2008, and their activity in 2013. It found that 33% of companies now require an email address from a user, which has increased from 20% back in 2008.

Data capture

Interestingly the study also found that in 2013, marketers are requiting email address, name, postcodes and birthdays, but not much more. In 2008 47% of companies aimed to get additional information from the contact, which has reduced to 33% of companies today. This may be because companies are savvier in collating data slowly, instead of asking for information up front. Or they may be using the relevant information in new and innovative ways, instead of collecting information such as their pet’s name for the sake of it.


Whilst data collection practices have changed, so have unsubscribe practices.

In 2008 only 3% of the companies surveyed offered a different frequency of emails, or differing content in order to try and retain the contact. Now, a whopping 33% of companies try to hold on to that data through preference centres. This figure shows that when contacts receive emails that they WANT, they will continue to read and interact with them. Offer a preference centre if you can, to stop contacts from unsubscribing.

Another interesting point (which is one of my pet peeves), back in 2008 25% of companies sent an email confirming un-subscription (why?!), and now only 7$ of companies do so. If a contact has unsubscribed, why do they need another email confirmed they have done so? I’m glad companies have realised this, and are stopping the process of confirming unsubscribes.

Welcome emails

When it comes to welcome emails, companies have caught on that this opportunity is fleeting and can seriously pay off. Welcome and confirmation emails get the highest open rates of all types of emails sent. Back in 2008, 40% of companies sent welcome emails, and this has doubled to 80% in 2013. Interestingly, back in 2008 65% of companies sent offers and discounts in their welcome emails, which has now reduced to 39% in 2013. This may be because email users are more knowledgeable about company tactics, and will not interact with the offers in the same way anymore.

Here at Wired, we love personalisation in an email marketing campaign. We’ve found it increases open and engagement levels, so this next fact shocked us. Five years ago 25% of companies used personalisation such as a name, location or other information in their campaigns, and now in 2013, this has reduced to 22%.

How do you think email marketing will change in the NEXT 5 years? What will email campaigns be like in 2018? Let us know your thoughts below, or tweet us @Wired_Marketing.

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