As the holiday season quickly approaches, having a pulse on the performance of various marketing channels is essential for brands to maximize their return on investment. This is especially true when it comes to heavily relied upon opt-in channels like email and SMS.
A recently released email and SMS marketing report shed light on these performance trends and helped answer questions like “Do consumers find SMS intrusive?” and “Are consumers over email?” The report analyzed more than 10.5 billion e-commerce marketing emails and 62 million SMS messages, among other channels, sent by Omnisend customers in the first half of 2023.
Here are four notable takeaways for brands to pay attention to.
More Sends, More Engagement, More Orders
Brands sent 32.8 percent more scheduled emails, 99.2 percent more automated emails, and 47.9 percent more SMS messages year-over-year (YoY).
Increased consumer engagement allows brands to continue finding sales success with these channels. The click-to-conversion rate for email increased nearly 5 percent over the same period last year and orders are up 8.3 percent. Automated email orders increased by 132 percent, and SMS orders increased by nearly 17 percent year-over-year.
This increase in sends tells us brands rely on the channels to generate sales. The increase in orders tells us consumers welcome them.
Consumers Rely on Automated Emails More Than Ever
In 2022, 31 percent of all email orders came from automated messages, but they accounted for less than 2 percent of sends. In the first half of 2023, this jumped to 46.9 percent of orders and 2.6 percent of sends. Behavior-triggered automated messages have become a major component of consumers’ product discovery and shopping journeys, and brands know it.
The highest converting automated messages were back-in-stock, cart abandonment, and welcome messages. Compared to scheduled email campaigns, automated messages saw a 91.5 percent improvement in open rate, a 329.5 percent lift in click rate, and a 3210 percent increase in conversion rate. In all, nearly 40 percent of people who click on an automated email go on to make a purchase. These numbers shouldn’t be ignored.
Books and Literature Over Fashion and Apparel?
Who would have thought it, but the industry vertical with the best email marketing conversion rate, at 0.22 percent, was books and literature. Compared to the average email campaign conversion rate of 0.07 percent, this vertical performance is a standout. Other top categories include food and beverage, hobbies and leisure, pet supplies, and health and wellness.
What do they all have in common? They all contain some aspect that focuses on the self.
Brands can adapt these “feel-good” aspects to their own messaging by combining emotional elements in their emails by using lifestyle images, customer testimonials, “you” language, and demonstrating the helpfulness of their products.
SMS Usage Increases Yet Again
While some marketers think SMS annoys customers, consumers tell us the opposite. Brands sent 47.9 percent more SMS campaigns and 45.5 percent more automated messages YoY, continuing its multiyear growth trend. Even with the increase in sends consumers continue to engage with SMS. One in every 10 people who received a marketing text message in the first half of 2023 clicked on it, resulting in a 16.9 percent increase in orders.
With the holiday season fast approaching, brands would be wise to grow their subscriber list by collecting mobile numbers on email sign-up forms, promoting their text program in emails, and subsequently integrating SMS into their automated messaging workflows.
Email and SMS marketing are two opt-in channels that have demonstrated their ability to increase sales. Not only have consumers not shied away from them, but they've continued to adopt and rely on them in their shopping journeys.
The percentage of orders generated by behavior-based automation, both email and SMS, is at an all-time high and shows they're a great tool to re-engage and guide shoppers toward purchase.
It’s no longer about a single message sent via a single channel that matters. It’s about how each channel is connected to pick up where the other left off, and their ability to provide relevant, timely information to would-be shoppers via the consumer-preferred channel. Brands that recognize this will finish 2023 in the driver’s seat.
Greg Zakowicz is a veteran marketer and the senior e-commerce expert at Omnisend, the all-in-one e-commerce marketing automation platform.
Related story: Don’t Ignore Email and SMS: Consumers Surely Haven’t
Greg Zakowicz is a veteran marketer and the Director of Content at Omnisend. With 15-plus years of experience in email, mobile, and social media marketing, he’s helped over 100 DTC companies around the world, including numerous from the Internet Retailer Top 1000, maximize sales through their email marketing programs. Zakowicz is a frequent speaker at ecommerce events, often shares his ecommerce insights across various industry media outlets, has been retained as an ecommerce expert witness for trial, and is the host of Omnisend’s Cart Insiders Podcast.