Email marketing has proved the GDPR harbingers of doom wrong, with the majority of marketers (56%) feeling positive about the impact the new laws have had on their email campaigns – and only a fifth feeling negative (20%).
According to the ’Marketer Email Tracker 2019’ report released by the DMA, in partnership with dotdigital, email remains the key strategic channel for most marketers, with 91% rating it as important.
Even though some marketers have observed decreases in list sizes, the majority reported a rise in both email open rates (74%) and click-through rates (75%) in the past 12 months, while most also saw a reduction in opt-out rates (41%) and spam complaints (55%) compared to previous years.
The research also reveals that almost two thirds (62%) of marketers are now confident in their organisation’s ability to measure return on investment – the highest-ever proportion since the DMA started asking the question back in 2012.
According to these marketers, the estimate of ROI for every £1 spent on email has increased by almost £10 since a pre-GDPR study and is now set at £42.24, up from £32.28 in 2017.
Marketers’ confidence in calculating the lifetime value (LTV) of each individual email address also rose sharply over the past year, with nearly twice as many organisations able to calculate these figures now (41%) than before the new rules came into force (21%). The estimated LTV for each email also increased in 2018 to £37.32.
Marcus Gearey, chair of the DMA Email Council’s research hub and analytics manager at Zeta Global, said: "Before the GDPR’s implementation something not unlike panic had set in among many. Was legitimate interest or informed consent the best strategy – or both? Would marketing lists be decimated or would a new era of opted-in consumers show those lists to be largely chaff in the first place?
"Less than a year into the new regime, marketers appear to have transitioned from wary to hopeful. Perhaps this will change when the ICO make their first big prosecution under the new legislation, but the disaster it was sometimes pitched as a precursor to, looks to have been wildly exaggerated."
Dotdigital chief marketing officer Phil Draper added: "What struck me most in this year’s figures is that email ROI has shot up from £32 to £42 – email’s return on investment is undeniable. As such, marketers are measuring ROI more than ever before; many are able to access the tools they need to quantify the impact of email. Moreover, marketers may have benefited from better quality email addresses in their arsenal, post GDPR."