The First Time Smaller Was Better

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An ExactTarget Response Rate study reveals that the bigger the email list, the lower the open and click through rate. Data was collected during the 2005 calendar year from more than 4,000 organizations, 230,000 email campaigns and 2.7 billion email messages.

Lists with 100,000 or more names had an average open rate of 18.2 percent and click-though of 3.6 percent. Those with 101-1,000 names had an open rate of 42.1 percent and click-through rate of 6.8 percent. For lists of 1,001-10,000, the rates were 33.2 percent and 5.1 percent; for 10,001-100,000, the rates were 25.8 percent and 4.5 percent. ExactTarget reports that open rates stabilize at a 15-20 percent range when list size reaches 400,000-500,000; however, the downward trend in click-through rates is unpredictable and shows greater variation.

“This phenomenon is one of the strongest cases for audience segmentation,” according to Morgan Stewart, director of strategic services at ExactTarget and author of the study.  “The smaller the targeted audience, the better organizations can aim their message directly to their subscribers in their email communications.  This is a sure way to increase response to email communications.”

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