Ten years after email began to emerge as a serious commercial marketing channel, the email marketing industry still has no consensus on the definitions of even the most basic metrics, according to a survey conducted by the deliverability roundtable of the Email Experience Council. Even the most fundamental metric of them all, the delivery rate, has no standard definition.
For example, 79% of email service providers surveyed defined "delivered" by deducting all failures from total mailed, while 21% calculated it by deducting hard bounces -- where the address no longer exists -- from total mailed.
Email marketers were in even further discord on the "delivered" metric as 63% defined delivered as total failures subtracted from total mailed, 11% defined it as simply total mailed and 10% defined "delivered" as only those emails that made it into the recipients' inboxes versus their spam folders.
A lack of consensus on such fundamental metrics has a seriously damaging ripple effect across the industry. For one thing, it makes measuring the rest of any email program accurately impossible.
Also, clients sometimes switch or consider switching email service providers because the marketer has been led to believe one ESP has a better deliverability track record than another when the one with the seemingly better rate is really just measuring it differently.
The lack of consensus on basic metric definitions makes it practically impossible to compare results from different vendors.
These findings complement those of a new study by JupiterResearch. The study, “E-mail Marketing Measurement,” found that despite 45 percent of e-mail marketers claiming to be satisfied with e-mail vendors’ methodology for determining metrics, there is no standard.
“Unfortunately, it is a political thing,” Mr. Daniels said. “Marketers make choices based on that metric, so vendors are concerned about … changing their system and having poor metrics. But metrics are meaningless unless you know the methodology behind them.”
It is not just a lack of vendor adoption, however. Mr. Daniels said that marketers don’t always know where to start. This, coupled with busy marketing schedules and a lack of staff, has contributed to the ongoing failure to address the issue.
Source: DM News