Why email marketing falter (maybe) is not inevitable


Advertisers avoid sending email. But the rise of first-party bases could give him a second life.

The number fell without observers’ surprise: Investments in email were down 4% in the first half of the year compared to the previous year. However, this was a first for the ePub Monitor, the benchmark market report measuring digital advertising investments, which had not recorded any decline for this leverage until then. Is this a permanent phenomenon?

Pulling advertisers from external email databases is nothing new. “Digital acquisition email activity is in permanent decline. Targeting quality has deteriorated sharply on this lever, not to mention its insufficient open rates. So email effectiveness is in decline. Loss of speed, increasingly low ROI. It is so not a lever we recommend Our customers as a priority,” explains Christophe Bousquet, founder of Effinity, a digital acquisition agency.

Anti-spam measures, GDPR, disinterested youth…

Where do you look for explanations for this? First of all, in the significant decrease in the base of presentations, which in itself was caused by many factors: the hosts have tightened anti-spam measures, young people really do not pay attention to this lever and the General Data Protection Regulation (RGPD ) imposes the obligation of prior consent from the user On receipt of commercial emails. “Many players who did not respect this rule have disappeared from the market,” comments Christophe Bousquet, referring in particular to the work of disseminating good practices and monitoring professional bodies, such as the Digital Marketing Players Group (CPA).

“Other than the bid, the e-mail does not have an auction system that would allow it to raise the price to its fair value”

In the opinion of many professionals we consulted, even if the market has improved dramatically, the bad practices of some email marketing players have undoubtedly left such indelible effects, starting with consumers, that many advertisers have gradually withdrawn. The result: Faced with both this disengagement and increased search power and social influence (leverages that prove worthwhile in the performance logic), advertisers who are still using email benefits to drive down prices. “Our advertisers are in competition with the rates charged by Google and Facebook. They also do not hesitate to contact several email service providers at the same time to enforce these discounts, which have adverse effects on ad pressure. Unlike display, email does not have a system An auction allows it to raise the price to its fair value,” analyzes Augustin Vatus, Managing Director of Elixis Digital, publisher of niche lead generation sites and a historical player in email submissions.

The reasons for this lack of speed are obviously numerous, but they do not go back to this year. “The decline was certainly not evident in the development of investments, but the fact is that the market share of email in the marketing mix has been declining for several years,” explains Christophe Bousquet. Reports from the past three years confirm this: this channel is losing market share very gradually but surely. Within the “affiliation, email and comparisons” group measured by the ePub Monitor, emails accounted for 15% of investments in the first half of this year, 17% in 2021, 18% in 2020, and 19% in 2019. No wonder in such a weakness. And the loss of leverage suffers as advertisers make big budget swaps.

Reasons to hope

Shall we conclude that email days are numbered? Nothing less certain, because in fact advertisers continue to use it. “Faced with the increasing complexity of the targeting logic associated with the end of third-party cookies, advertisers are forced to create their own databases. It starts with an email address: the rule, the fact that email addresses are reclaimed their own CRM database, is becoming relevant again” Christophe Bousquet explains. With databases increasingly powerful, why do major advertisers refrain from activating the distribution of commercial emails? “It’s easier for brands to use first-party data to get their target right,” agrees Loc Chanussot, Director of Dentsu Retail.

Sure, but that logic can have limits: “An advertiser still needs to invoke external rules to renew their offerings. A CRM with a 30% open rate is already excellent, a subscription has a limited lifespan (three years in commercial prospecting) and can be That the customer relationship with the brand is naturally exhausted in many cases”, analyzes Augustin Vatus. It concludes, “Using and operating email well can be a sustainable acquisition vehicle for advertisers. It is up to us, the players in this sector, to better organize ourselves to prove it.”

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