Report: Rich Media E-Mail Still Too Pricey

Rich media e-mail is still too costly and too few recipients can view it, making it impractical for most e-mail marketers to use, according to new research.

The report from Jupiter Research, which is owned by the parent company of this site, concludes that only certain marketers trafficking in high volume will find rich media a better choice than HTML.

According to Jupiter Research analyst Nate Elliott, rich media e-mail tends to carry a 30 percent premium for marketers over HTML mailings. However, just 30 percent of e-mail recipients support rich media. The reason: AOL, Yahoo! and Hotmail — the largest e-mail providers — do not support rich media content.

On top of this, rich media e-mail carries a steep price tag. Elliott estimated a Flash e-mail campaign for a list of 250,000 would cost $43,750, while an HTML campaign would run $27,500. Despite the 60 percent price premium, the Flash campaign would return a .5 percent conversion rate to HTML’s .25 percent. This works out to the Flash campaign costing $140 per conversion to HTML’s $110.

Elliott concluded rich media e-mail is not yet ready for the mainstream. Instead, companies that have used rich media e-mail marketing campaigns cost-effectively are those with large lists that carry a high value per customer acquisition and feature specific content, such as entertainment marketing material.

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