Through our portfolio of SaaS vendors, we have fantastic access to a wealth of email marketing data at Spotler Group. We make this data available in various insight reports across the group, consistent with our mission to help marketers succeed and grow their businesses. 

A great example is our annual Dutch Email Marketing Benchmark report, where we share the top 10 insights that our email experts have learned from a data set that spans 15.9 billion emails from 986,000 campaigns across 5,525 companies. This report has become an essential industry guide to the email trends for marketing professionals in that region. 

I’ve dived into the report for this blog post, pushed all the data dashboard buttons, and plucked out three things that caught my eye, that I think all marketers will find useful. 

#1 The Death of B2B Email is Exaggerated (Yet Again!)

As marketers, we have a reputation that, like magpies, we are often distracted by the latest shiny object, whether it’s a tool, that our brand must be seen in the latest social media hotspot, or that we must publish content across every channel. All in return for a small slice of our hard-earned marketing budget, but the truth is email continues to deliver. 

Whichever metric you pick, Confirmed Open Rates (COR), Click Through Rates (CTR), or Click-to-Open Ratio (CTO), the numbers continue to rise for B2B. According to the data gathered from our clients, in 2019, the average B2B CTR was around 7%, and in 2021 this was nudging up to 9%. These stats indicate a healthy level of engagement and that this channel is very much alive and well.

#2 Timing Is Everything

When creating any campaign, we must answer three key questions: Why are we doing it? What will we do? And when? 

So, you’ve channeled your inner Simon Sinek (you know, the Start with Why guy), discovered your why, and decided that the “what” will be an email campaign. So, when? It’s at this point that this benchmark data can help. 

If you are planning a B2B campaign, Saturday may surprise you. It’s the best day to send, with click through rates at 15.71%, and Tuesday is a bad news day when rates dip to 8.44%. Yet, according to our data, most B2B email is sent on Tuesday or Thursday. 

But, if you are sending on Tuesday and in the Travel industry, you are in luck. It seems that once we get over the shock of getting back to work on Monday, we are all thinking of being far away, and Tuesday outperforms weekends as the day most emails from the travel industry are opened. 

If you are an eCommerce retailer, while around 25% of your peers are busy sending first thing in the morning, the magic hour for the highest click-thru rate is mid-afternoon.

Timing truly is everything, and the report shares more suggestions and hopefully inspires you to experiment with times. 

#3 The Apple Privacy Policy was not the Open Rate Apocalypse 

In September 2021, Apple released the much-discussed Mail Privacy Protection update for all the latest iPhone, iPad and Mac operating systems. Industry commentators expected this to impact marketing email open rates significantly. 

Aside from protecting IP address data, the update also allows Apple users to choose whether or not they want content from the sender to download when the email is opened (as before) or download it in the background. Meaning Apple acts as an intermediary between sender and receiver and, as they state in their privacy settings, “to make it harder for senders to follow your activity”.

However, this data from the Netherlands indicates that overall this did not have the expected immediate impact. When comparing the data from 2020 with 2021, there is a slight rise in open rates, but this appears to be in line with a yearly increase in email open rates overall, and if we focus on B2C, there is a slight drop. 

Perhaps it’s too early to tell, the update would have only impacted the last quarter of the year, so perhaps this year we will see more impact. Or, maybe the percentage of emails opened on Apple email clients is not as significant as was thought, and we should look closely at device data. In either case, early indicators suggest marketers can still trust the numbers, with the caveat that you should keep an eye on the data from your audience.

Your Mileage May Vary

Those are my three takeaways from the report and the data that underpins it, and I encourage you to take a look. A large, aggregated study across this big data set is invaluable for comparing your email performance, particularly when diving into your industry’s specific numbers. It enables you to develop KPIs and metrics and set the expectation of campaign performance before you launch. 

But, you should use this as a guide and let your data decide, and, of course, our products can help, developed to enable data-driven marketers to succeed with dashboards, reporting and all the lovely data you need. 

About the Report

The Dutch E-mail Marketing Benchmark for 2022 comprises data from Email Service Providers (ESPs) Spotler Nederland and Tripolis. (Including Spotler, Measuremail, Spike, Tripolis Dialogue and Webpower). We analyzed 15.9 billion emails from 986,000 campaigns (with a minimum of 500 addresses) across 5,525 companies for this benchmark. 

Download the full report (in Dutch) here.