- Mobile app inbox messages have an average open rate of more than 22%, outperforming the 5% open rate for simple mobile push notifications, per a new study that marketing cloud platform Acoustic shared with Mobile Marketer.
- Push notifications have low open rates because their content mostly consists of alerts — such as a flight delay, package shipping status or breaking news — that don't require additional action from a mobile user. The percentage of people opening emails on mobile devices fell to about 44% in 2018 from 49% the prior year, while the share of consumers opening emails on desktop dipped to nearly 16% from 18%. The percentage of email recipients opening webmail rose to 40% from 33% during the comparable period.
- U.S. click-through rates (CTRs) for marketing messages jumped 20% in 2018 from the prior year, possibly indicating that content optimization for mobile devices contributed to growth, per the study. Acoustic is the new name for IBM's former Watson Marketing unit that was acquired in April by private equity firm Centerbridge Partners.
Acoustic's new study provides insights into how marketers should think about their mobile messaging strategies, and particularly underscores the limitations of tactics like push notifications. In-app inbox messages emerge as a stronger candidate for sustained user engagement, though overall open rates for mobile email appear to be falling.
Despite this, certain email strategies still resonate. Transactional email messages, for example, rank highly on performance, scoring average open rates of nearly 44%, according to Acoustic. That's 20 percentage points higher than non-transactional email messages, such as newsletters or promotional offers.
One surprisingly positive effect on outbound marketing campaigns has been stricter consumer-privacy laws in some regions — namely the European Union with GDPR. Advertisers had fretted that privacy regulation would limit their ability to target consumers in digital campaigns. Instead, the laws have pushed brands to focus more on list hygiene and higher-quality subscribers, improving targeting and increasing success rates, per Acoustic.
"In addition to improving permission and data management practices, brands are increasingly using AI to personalize emails, dissect and analyze big data, and detect when campaigns aren't performing well," Loren McDonald, program director of market research at Acoustic, said in a statement.
Drilling down into industry groups, insurance and automotive saw the best response from emails sent to customers. Insurers generated 4.2 opens per message, ahead of industry categories like media, retail and leisure. Acoustic attributed the high repeat-open rate to the content of many insurance emails, including information about policy renewals, deadlines and other personalized account information.
The automotive industry saw the highest CTR for emails at 10%, ahead of computer hardware and telecommunications, energy and environmental and consumer products and services. Acoustic said the high CTR likely is the result of cars being the second-most expensive consumer purchase after a home.