Despite newer channels trying to muscle in on marketing’s field of play, email is showing itself to be more dependable than ever as a way to share an advertiser’s message with a targeted audience.

In November 2012, UK monthly marketing email volumes hit an all-time high of 220 million per ESP, according to the latest industry figures from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). Overall, email marketing was up 25% year-on-year in Q2 2012.

Retail volume has grown by more than 50 million during 2012 and finance rose by more than 28 million. The DMA’s H2 2012 national email benchmarking report vertical breakdown also showed both the travel and publishing sector’s sent emails to have shrunk.

Growth in Number of Addresses

The DMA collated data from 13 UK-based email service providers throughout the last six months of 2012 to discover that the number of addresses these ESPs manage has risen sharply from 195 million in Q1 to 264 million in Q2.

Considering how many emails some brands send out, the average number of times each address is contacted by an ESP was surprisingly low at 2.3 in the final quarter of 2012, although it did marginally increase from 1.9 in the first quarter.

Retention is still the main reason for the majority of email marketing that was being sent out in the latter three months of last year. Compared to H1, though, there were more communications being sent out for the purpose of acquisition.

Open Rates Better Than Ever

Consumer trust in email is as high as it has ever been, with unique open rates in 2012 reaching what the DMA revealed were ‘unprecedented levels’. In Q3 they grew to 21% and they then topped 33% in Q4.

Average total clickthrough rates accomplished the heady height of 11% in Q4 of 2012, higher than they had been all year. Disappointingly, average delivery rates and inbox delivery rates were both down over the course of the year.

At the beginning of 2012 the travel vertical was on top, totting up average unique click-through rates of more than 10% . By Q2 its lead had been eroded to 7% and in Q3 finance had moved ahead of the other sectors with more than nine percentage points, a feat that remained into Q4.