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Personalized promotional emails sent during 2013 had 26% higher unique open rates and 41% higher unique click rates than non-personalized mailings, according to a recent report from Experian Marketing Services.

Personalized triggered marketing mailings had similar lifts, with 25% higher unique open rates and 51% higher unique click rates.

The effectiveness of personalization varied by industry, Experian's analysis found: CPG (+6%) and media (+15%) organizations recorded smaller increases in unique open rates, whereas travel (+65%) and multichannel (+37%) retailers registered major jumps.

Below, additional key findings from the 2013 Email Market Study, which was based on Experian client data collected in the past year.

Growing Trends

  • Pop-up windows: 45% of marketers used pop-up windows by the end of 2013 on their websites to collect email addresses. That was a 107% increase from 2012 levels.
  • Responsive design: Brands increasingly looked for ways to deliver the most optimal experience to mobile customers, exemplified by the use of responsive design in 2013, which more than doubled from 2012 levels.
  • Social promotion: Promoting social networks in email increased significantly in 2013, with the highest growth recorded for Instagram and Pinterest.

Proven Tactics

  • Activity segmentation: In 2013, most marketers (83%) segmented their email campaign audiences by past activity data, such as open and click activity.
  • Real-time triggering: Sending a second abandoned-cart reminder garnered an average 54% lift compared with just sending one abandoned-cart message.
  • Browse-history: Emails based on products or categories that a customer had already surfed achieved a 3.4x increase in revenue compared with other promotional mailings.
  • Confirmed opt-in: Confirmed opt-in mailings had 2.7x higher click rates than other welcome emails and 3.3x higher click rates than other reactivation emails.

Areas for Improvement

  • Personalization: Despite the general effectiveness of the tactic, Experian found 70% brands did not personalize emails sent to subscribers in 2013.
  • Customer preferences: 60% of marketers did not give customers the option to select the types of emails they wanted to receive in 2013, and only 30% let their customers decide how often they wanted to be mailed.
  • POS collection: Most (80%) of retail brands continued to collect email addresses via a point of sale (POS) system entered by a sales associate, a method with a high potential for error, rather than more effective digital methods.

About the research: The report was based on Experian client data collected in 2013.

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Email Marketing Tactics: What Worked (and What Didn't) in 2013

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a writer, editor, and a content strategist. He is a co-founder of ICW Media and a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji