Silver Linings Inbox: No Increase in Holiday Spam, Says Return Path
It might just be a holiday miracle. According to the recently released "State of the Inbox Quarterly Snapshot" for Q4 of 2014 from Return Path, there was "no holiday email blizzard burying subscribers under heaps of unwelcome marketing messages." And while many critics of email marketing cite consumer outrage over increased holiday mailing, the truth might just be exactly the opposite.
In an analysis of 2 million active subscribers, Return Path noted that only 18 percent of any given inbox's contents are personal in nature. In fact, the majority—53 percent—are of the promotional sort. With an average of nine or 10 emails per day, it breaks down to about five promotional, two personal, and two or three commercial messages such as newsletters. Even on the busiest day of the quarter, Cyber Monday, the average inbox was still only receiving 12 pieces of email—hardly the deluge of spam that critics try to project.
Even with the ever-so-slight increase in mailings, the rate of engagement held steady at 22.4 percent, barely below the 22.8 percent average of other quarters. Additionally, out of non-personal messages in the inbox, shopping or retail-related mailings had the lowest rate of being reported as spam. Consumers are clearly adapting to the inbox as a legitimate place to receive marketing communication.
One critical takeaway that Return Path suggests is that the reason there was so little increase in mailing during the last quarter of 2014 could be because we are already quite near to the saturation point of email marketing. Competition for eyeballs remains fierce, and it would be better to stick with consistent open rates than risk an unsubscribe.