I never formally studied marketing, but I imagine it’s a given that the response to any sort of marketing campaign peaks soon after it is initiated and gradually tails off. Today I thought I’d share the results of a little analysis I’ve just done on two email blasts we did recently at The Tapas Lunch Company; one at the beginning of March, the other at the beginning of April. If you’re easily bored by stats, the takeaway lesson from this is that, probably as you’d expect, the response to the email newsletter mailshot was immediate and short-lived. Read on for a little more in-depth analysis.
Here’s a short synopsis of what we did. In March and April we launched new product ranges. We don’t tend to smother customers with constant news of what we’re doing and what odd product we have on sale, but we do think our foodie customers are interested in any new products we get from Spain, so in these circumstances, we tend to send out an email to our entire list of past customers with the good news.
Since we did two in such quick succession this year, I thought it would be a good opportunity to take a look at the web analytics for both blasts and see how effective they were in driving traffic to the website. Here are the traffic trends for both shots (blue line), focusing on the day of the mailout and including a day either side. I’ve included the traffic chart for the previous week for comparison (orange line) and the exact moment of the mailshot is marked with a green arrow.
The pattern is basically the same, which is fairly good evidence that we’re dealing with something real here, rather than a freak or an anomaly. Here’s what we see:
- The response is immediate. Like, really immediate. OK, we all know that emails are pretty much instantaneous, but it’s still enlightening to see that the peak response to the email was in the first hour after it was sent. I might have expected to see a ramp up of traffic over say, two or three hours, before a peak and then a tail off, but in fact, at least at this level of granularity1, there is no such ramp up. Peak response was in the first hour.
- The precise numbers aren’t particularly important, because obviously they’ll depend on the size of your normal web traffic and email subscriber list, but here’s an indication of the scale of the response: taking the previous week as a baseline (which isn’t exactly scientific, but hey, this is just a bit of fun, right?), the response peaked at about 500% increase over baseline traffic in both cases. If you’d like to compare that to your own case, I will tell you that the size of our email subscriber list is about equivalent to two weeks worth of web traffic (hits, not page views). In the first hour, web traffic increased by 500%.
- Response started to tail off immediately after the first hour, but not quite as sharply as the initial increase. Traffic decreased gradually and linearly over the next 5-6 hours until returning to baseline. In both cases, traffic was more or less back to normal by about 10pm and the traffic the following day was, again, pretty much normal. Significant response in terms of increased traffic was limited to about 5-6 hours following the blast and did not extend into the following day.
- Overall, by the end of the day, traffic was double normal, i.e. a 100% increase.
At 2pm on day x, we sent an email shot to a subscriber list, the size of which was equivalent to approximately 14 days worth of web hits. The peak response was a 500% increase in traffic in the first hour, tailing off to normal by 10pm the same day.
No doubt the most interesting aspect of this type of analysis would be to compare it with the results of others. Clearly, the response not only depends on the size of the mailing list, but also on the strength of the message and call to action it contains.
- Of course, we would probably see a ramp up if we could zoom in to a minute-by-minute level of granularity. It would be interesting to see at exactly what minute after sending the email response peaked. My money would be on t+5 minutes. ↩