Proof Email Marketing is Dead: Open Rate for Emails

In Email Marketing is Dead the Statistics and Social Proof Clint Mayer confronts us with an argument that marketers should ditch their email marketing in exchange for a social media strategy.

He says:

According to a July 2010 Edition of the Email Marketing Benchmark Report  released by, the average open rate of emails in the USA dropped from 14% in half 2 of 2007 to a humble 11.2% in half 2 of 2009.

The decline in email open rates has been attributed to factors like image blocking, increased use of email hand held devices and list fatigue, but the biggest reason is being grossly neglected. It is what we are calling the era of social advocacy – Social Media.

Consumer Review Statistics Motherlode

Bazaarvoice hosts the motherlode of  “Social Commerce Statistics” snippets with an emphasis on reviews but much more.

Here is a small sampling:

  • Consumer reviews are significantly more trusted- nearly 12 times more- than descriptions that come from manufacturers, according to a survey of US mom Internet users by online video review site EXPO.  (eMarketer, February 2010)
  • 90% of consumers online trust recommendations from people they know; 70% trust opinions of unknown users. (Econsultancy, July 2009)
  • Customer reviews are an important research tool for online consumers, with 71 percentconsumer reviews make them more comfortable that they are buying the right product. (Nielsen Online Holiday Survey, December 2008)
  • Top-rated products site navigation path featuring 4- and 5-star products in each category delivered 49% higher conversion and 63% higher average order value. (Bazaarvoice, June 2007)
  • PETCO realized a 5X increase in email click-through rates by including relevant ratings and reviews content in the campaign promotion. (PETCO, June 2007)

Bazaarvoice also has a whitepaper resource guide.

US Search Engine Marketing Spend 2008 and 2009

Wow… 88% of Search Engine Marketing budget is PPC, not organic search.  Compare that to the previous post which demonstrates that 88% of click traffic comes from Organic, not PPC.

Is something screwy here?

  • 2008 SEM spending totalled $13.4 billion
  • 2009 SEM spending is projected to rise to $14.7 billion
  • Long term projections show a total SEM spend of $26.1 billion in 2013
  • Paid placement accounted for 88% of 2008 spending, or $11.9 billion
  • Organic SEO accounted for approximately 11% of 2008 spending, or more than $1.4 billion
  • Additionally, the market for SEM technologies, including leasing, agency solutions and in-house development, accounted for 1.1% of overall 2008 spending, or $141 million.

PPC vs Organic Search Usage by Consumers

According to Enquisite, 89% of all search engine clicks are driven through the organic search area and only 11% (or 10.53% of all clicks) are driven through Pay-per-click (PPC) or sponsored search.

Thanks to SEOMoz for this handy chart.

Online Vacation Rental Market Enjoys Increased Demand

PhoCusWright reports that when the U.S. economy took a dive in 2009, growth of the online vacation rental sector continued unabated.

The online vacation rental category averaged more than 4.7 million monthly unique visitors from May 2009 through April 2010, up from an average 4.1 million in the preceding 12-month period.

Also, August 2009 up 25% over 2008 and November 2009 up 40% over 2008.

Those are pretty good numbers!

Consumers Want Personal Deals and Services

In a great article about Customer Loyalty and Hotel Marketing (In Search of Customer Loyalty) Madigan Pratt reports:

Today’s traveler is far more sophisticated than ever before. And they want your messages to be personalized. According to the Chief Marketing Officer Council survey:

  • 58% of consumers surveyed want more compelling and personal benefits and services
  • 52% want more compelling personal deals and offers

Hospitality marketing professionals dedicated to delivering personalized communications with relevant offers and content will be the Loyalty Leaders. “Relevant” information is what guests want to hear – not the incessant sales pitches far too many (desperate) hoteliers deliver.

Research: Travel Shopper Online Behavior from Google and Compete

These are notes from a Compete and Google Webinar from 1-14-2009 entitled “Travel Shopping in Today’s economy”

As the economy has slowed, having an up-to-date perspective on consumer travel demand and preferences is more important than ever. Using an in-depth survey of traveler perspectives and a detailed online behavioral analysis, Google and Compete have partnered to create a new study exploring how consumers are shopping for travel in today’s economy.

Data from the Webinar

  • Travel Researchers are visiting fewer travel sites. from 3 sites in 07 to 2 sites in 08
  • Bookers are more active – 16.4% of bookers visit 10+ sites! avg 5.4 sites
  • 15 million travel researchers using search monthly
  • 70% of travel search coming through Google. 20% from Yahoo
  • 54% travelers use search engine as go to source for travel ideas and information
  • 44% prefer to spend money on travel than material things
  • 86% of travelers use internet for travel decisions. Family & friends next, but only 37%

Vast Majority of Online Marketers Are Missing Conversion Opportunities

Omniture’s 2009 Online Conversion Benchmark Survey reveals some startling facts:

  • 80% of online marketers do not serve personalized content, and do not use performance metrics to promote content
  • Less than 30% frequently test their content
  • 70% of content decisions are unsupported by data

Read more about it at Hope for Flailing Conversion Rates by Laurie Sullivan

40 Percent of Hotel Bookings Fail Because…

Stephen Joice of T4 Blog shares findings from Iperception’s Hospitality Index Report:

  • 40% of customers failed to complete a booking on a hotel website because of booking or navigation problems.
  • Price on the other hand only accounted for 13% of customers failing to complete a booking.

Visit his article for more on this and the cost of so many abandoned booking engine transactions.

Halo Effect of Expedia on hotel’s website traffic and reservations

Expedia says that for every booking it drives, it drives another one directly to the hotel’s website.

The article shows how an independent hotel got a 26% boost in daily reservations when it was on Expedia vs when it was off.

Expedia Billboard Effect: Cornell agrees that it is real.