E-mail Marketing (ESP)
David Addison
by David Addison
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Are e-mail marketers going big?

05/13/2010
Are e-mail marketers going big?

[Updated statistics on March 22, 2011]

E-mail marketing—the ethical/non-spam sort—remains one of our most important and profitable marketing tools. E-mail marketing is still far more important than social media. A recent aggregation of Dirigo data found that 21.8% of sales activity was directly attributed to newsletters or promotional e-mail campaigns. Non-direct attribution (abnormal sales volume adjacent to e-mail marketing that does not originate from tracking links or cookied computers) is known to be much higher. Bear in mind that Dirigo is heavily focused on direct response marketing. Pure play refers to companies that only advertise on the internet or by e-mail.

We pay close attention to internet usage. Usage statistics provide clues on how to design websites, webcasts, newsletters, etc. Our goal when designing interactive media is to always be as inclusive as possible. In Q1 2008 Dirigo moved to 964px as our standard for website width.

Display Resolution resarch from the Pew Internet Project and the W3C*:

Jan-08

Date Higher 1024x768 800x600 640x480 Unknown

Jan-11*

85.1%

13.8%

0.6%

0%

0.5%

Jan-10*

76%

20%

1%

0%

3%

Jan-09

57%

36%

4%

0%

3%

Jan-08

38%

48%

8%

0%

6%

Jan-07

26%

54%

14%

0%

6%

Jan-06

17%

57%

20%

0%

6%

Jan-05

12%

53%

30%

0%

5%

Jan-04

10%

47%

37%

1%

5%

Jan-03

6%

40%

47%

    2%

5%

Jan-02

 6%

34%

52%

3%

5%

Jan-01

 5%

29%

55%

6%

5%

Jan-00

4%

25%

56%

11%

4%

So what about e-mail?

Is it time to move to a higher resolution (e.g. more horizontal real estate)? The answer is no. It is still a best practice to design e-mail at 550-650px wide.

Most e-mail newsletters are designed with a fixed width as opposed to a variable or full width. That’s because most e-mail clients and web-based e-mail applications don’t use the full width of your screen for displaying the message. Whether it’s the menu in Hotmail, Yahoo, or AOL, controls within MS Outlook or Microsoft Exchange, or ads in Gmail, a good chunk of screen real estate is already being used. The reading pane (right or bottom) typically uses 40% of the screen real estate. Remember, your recipients are busy and impatient, so horizontal scroll bars are even more of a no-no in e-mail than a web page.

Based on a sampling of e-mail that we receive we’ll continue to design at 600px wide as our design standard. In about 12 months we’ll post another look. As wide-screen displays replace older square displays we expect that e-mail width will increase.

Here is a small random sample of the Dirigo March 2010 e-mail width review data. As you can see there is no real standard. The mode average (the number that occurs most often) is close to 600.

Width      e-mail Sender (Type)
650          WS_FTP
587          Vital One
600          Sun Microsystems
754          Microsoft (Windows 7 RC check-in e-mail)
1024        Microsoft (Registration e-mail)
578          Microsoft (Registration thank you e-mail)
600          Longtail Video
602          Ipswitch File Transfer
660          Intermedia
600          GoGrid
600          SeriousEats.com (newsletter)
601          eFax
636          ClickInks
620          Neodynamic Barcode Professional
654          L.L.Bean (newsletter)
616          Ad:Tech (confrence update)
610          Adobe (newsletter)
558          American Express (fraud e-mail)
700          Apple (Inside Apple newsletter)
716          Better Business Bureau of New England
750          Borders
780          Bruce Clay Inc
620          Carbonite
688          Dun & Bradstreet
728          Datamonitor
560          Dell (Order shipment confirmation)
600          Discover Card (Payment due notice)
604          Diskeeper (Marketing e-mail)
550          DM News (Newsletter–heavy text)
600          Dutch Gardens
604          Evite.com
830          Expedia.com
604          Fetchdog.com
602          FTD (Special Offer–heavy image)
600          GoDaddy.com
602          Headsets.com
700          Hitwise.com
792          Internet.com
580          JetBlue.com
650          LegalZoom.com
550          PhotoStamps.com
650          Potterybarn.com
550          Sandals.com
730          Southbeachdiet.com
600          Southwest Airlines
604          TD Ameritrade
722          Time Warner Cable Business Class
670          Williams-Sonoma

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