If you think you get a lot of email each day, it’s because you do. Research shows that in 2016, an estimated 215 billion emails are sent daily, an increase of 5 percent over the previous year. On any given day, the average email user receives approximately 123 emails in his or her inbox.
At VerticalResponse, these are exciting numbers. We love email, of course — no surprise there. It’s easy, everyone uses it (including your customers), and it continues to thrive as a method of communication. As popular as social media and even texting are, nothing beats a carefully constructed email for getting your message out.
In fact, VerticalResponse users contribute quite a bit to those emails flying around the cybersphere each day. We crunched some of our own numbers to see what our users have been doing, and how that activity changes around the holiday season. Here’s what we found:
VerticalResponse users sent over 650 million emails in 2015…
Our users generated more than 3 percent of total global email traffic last year! That includes more than 220 thousand separate email campaigns, with nearly 40 million opened emails. That’s an open rate that averages out to more than 6 percent.
…and nearly 750 million in the first nine months of 2016
In the first three quarters of 2016, VerticalResponse users have sent a whopping 744 million emails — that’s nearly 100 million more than all of last year, before taking October, November, or December into account. The number of email campaigns in that same timeframe was over 192,000, with an average open rate of nearly 7 percent.
The fourth quarter sees the heaviest use
In 2015, the fourth quarter dwarfed the others in number of emails sent: Almost 245 million compared to 177 million in the next highest quarter, the third. That’s an increase of 66 million (37.6 percent) over the third quarter, and a whopping 160 million (189 percent) over the first quarter, which saw the lowest number of emails sent. The number of email campaigns in the fourth quarter was also at its highest for 2015, with 66 thousand campaigns sent. That’s a lot of holiday emails! Open rates in the fourth quarter were more than 6 percent, which is the second highest rate of the year.
Holidays and days of the week affect traffic
Certain email traffic patterns emerge from our 2015 data. In October 2015, VerticalResponse users’ email sends peaked on Thursday and Friday. In November, the highest-trafficked day was Monday, primarily because VerticalResponse usage skyrocketed on Nov. 30 — Cyber Monday itself. In December, Tuesdays and Thursdays saw the busiest email traffic, with, unsurprisingly, the two weeks before Christmas showing the highest numbers on those days. Throughout the entire fourth quarter, VerticalResponse customers sent the fewest emails on Saturday and Sunday.
Time of day matters
While the most popular days of the week varied based on calendar events happening in any given month, traffic according to time of day was more consistent regardless of the month. In the last quarter of 2015, the most popular time VerticalResponse users sent email was between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. EST. The next most popular window was the three hours between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. EST. Clearly, email marketing is most popular during the morning. But don’t discount afternoons too quickly: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST was the third most trafficked window of the holiday months. Needless to say, sending emails during the night isn’t the most popular business practice. Email numbers drop to their lowest between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. EST — but they don’t disappear completely. Some night owls or early risers are up during those hours, email marketing to their customers.
What this means for 2016
This year’s fourth quarter will no doubt see even more email traffic than last year’s holiday season did, especially considering 2016 has already outperformed the entirety of 2015 in terms of email use. Retailers, restaurants, and other small businesses are making the most of their customers’ interest in holiday specials and year-end events, and they’re launching email campaigns accordingly. For a small business owner, determining which day and which time to send your emails may seem confusing. But take comfort in the fact that despite the astronomically high number of emails sent every single day, they still work: email marketing brings a 4,300 percent ROI on average, and email marketing is 40 percent more effective than social media. As our VerticalResponse users have discovered, small business owners cannot go wrong by using email. Happy sending this holiday season!
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© 2016, John Habib. All rights reserved.
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