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DoubleClick: E-Mail Marketing Still Strong

Online marketing technology giant DoubleClick has released its e-mail trend report for the third quarter, showing the e-mail marketing industry holding open and click rates holding steady in the face of rising volume.

According to DoubleClick's figures, which were culled from users of its DARTmail e-mail delivery platform, the click-through rate in the quarter was 6.1 percent, as opposed to 4.9 percent last quarter and 6.1 percent in last year's third quarter. Bounceback rates fell to 11.2 percent in the quarter, from 12.6 percent in the second quarter -- yet they remained near historic highs.

DoubleClick was encouraged by the results, concluding that e-mail marketers have been creative in connecting with customers who are faced with a deluge of e-mail, both permission-based and unsolicited. The company attributed rising click-through rates to aggressive list hygiene performed by marketers to lower bounceback rates. However, bounceback rates remain high, a fact DoubleClick attributes to size limits on in-boxes faced with a deluge of e-mail.

"Holiday 2002 should be an excellent season for e-mail marketers if they continue to maintain performance by adopting best practices for testing optimal frequency, maintaining list hygiene, and increasing measurement capabilities," DoubleClick researchers concluded.

DoubleClick culled its data from more than 2 billion e-mails sent by its clients.

The report found that HTML e-mail remains far and away more effective than its text counterpart, garnering an 11.3 percent click-through rate against text's 6 percent. However, HTML's growth has slowed. In the third quarter, it made up 43.6 percent of marketing messages sent, an increase of just 1 percent from the precious quarter.

Marketing messages selling business products and services continued to garner the highest open rate, averaging 47.4 percent. Travel and consumer products came in No. 2, with a 42.5 percent open rate.

E-mail marketers have come under pressure lately, as the field has grown more crowded since it has emerged as one of the most successful sectors of the interactive ad industry. The deluge of unsolicited e-mail messages -- and e-mail programs attempts to stop them, has also proven a challenge -- as some e-mail marketers have found their messages flagged as spam.