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Email, SMS, and push marketing statistics for ecommerce H1 2022
Like 2021, 2022 has so far kept ecommerce merchants on their toes. The cost of paid social continues to increase while the effectiveness of those ads, in large part due to Apple’s iOS 14 update, has declined. Inflation has put strains on consumer spending and profits, and while online sales are still growing, brick-and-mortar stores have slowly reemerged to take a bite out of ecommerce sales.
But it’s not all bad. Ecommerce sales continue to grow and the effectiveness of opt-in channels like email and SMS marketing remains strong without the cost uncertainty. As brands prepare for the holiday season ahead, it’s important to understand how consumers are responding to different channels and how they can use that knowledge to increase their sales and profits.
In this ecommerce statistics report, we break down the performance of email marketing, SMS marketing, and web push notifications sent in the first half (H1) of 2022.
2022 email, SMS and push marketing statistics key findings
Here are our key findings from this year’s first-half ecommerce statistics report.
- Automated messages generated 29.1% of all email marketing orders but accounted for only 1.75% of email sends.
- iOS 15 had a significant impact on open rates, as expected, causing them to increase 94% compared to the same period in 2021.
- The conversion rate for promotional email campaigns was 0.08%, down from 0.10% compared to the same period in 2021. The click-to-conversion rate, however, remained mostly even (6.74%), indicating email is just as effective at generating sales.
- 35% of consumers who click on an automated email go on to purchase compared to 6.7% of campaign email clickers.
- Automated messages engage shoppers. These messages generated more than four times the number of orders-per-click than promotional campaigns.
- Transactional messages continue to generate sales and shouldn’t be ignored by ecommerce brands. Conversion rates for order confirmation and shipping confirmation messages increased 38% and 6% year-over-year, respectively.
In the first half of 2022, automated messages were responsible for 29% of all email orders and accounted for only 1.75% of email sends.
- SMS marketing is accelerating. Promotional campaign sends increased by 47% and total SMS sends increased by 36% year-over-year.
- Automated SMS sends decreased by 10% but still managed to generate 28% more orders compared to the same period in 2021.
- Automated SMS messages convert 349% better than promotional SMS messages.
- The conversion rate for promotional SMS campaigns was 0.21% (down from 2.7%). Automated SMS saw a 42% increase in conversion rate YoY, ending at 0.93%.
- SMS generated 18% more orders in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.
Web push notifications
- Web push message adoption is increasing. Merchants sent 260% more promotional messages and nearly 27% more automated messages YoY. Combined, merchants sent 34% more push messages in the first half of 2022 than they did all of last year.
- Push messages generated 43% more orders compared to the same period last year.
- Consumers engage with web push messages. 35% of consumers who click on a promotional push notification message and 44% who click on an automated push message go on to make a purchase.
- Message performance remains strong. Campaign open rates are 17.9%, click rates 0.25%, and conversion rates 0.09%, while automated open rates are 65.1%, click rates 2.24%, and conversion rates 0.99%.
For this report, we analyzed over 8 billion marketing emails, 42 million SMS, and 73 million web push messages sent by Omnisend merchants in the first half (H1) of 2022. We calculated conversion rates by looking at attributed orders compared to total emails/SMS/push messages sent and calculated click rates by looking at the number of clicks compared to the number of emails/SMS/push messages sent.
We also use the following terminology:
- Promotional campaigns (campaigns): messages manually sent by brands, such as promoting special offers, discounts, new products, and other promotional-style messages.
- Automated messages (automations): automated messages triggered by user behavior, such as when a user abandons a cart, subscribes to a newsletter, or makes a purchase.
2022 email marketing conversion rates
Promotional campaign conversion rates ended the first half of 2022 down 20% year-over-year (YoY), finishing at 0.08%. This decrease can be partly attributed to an increase in sends. Merchants sent 52% more campaign emails during the same period YoY. The click-to-conversion rate of these emails, however, was on par with 2021, declining less than one percent to finish at 6.74%—showing that emails are still effective at generating consumer action and sales.
Automated messages saw a mere 1.1% decrease in conversion rate, ending at 1.87%, but saw a click-to-conversion rate of 35.2%, an increase of nearly six percent. Welcome messages (2.9%) and cart abandonment messages (2.3%) generated the two highest conversion rates of all non-transactional automated emails in the first half of 2022.
Why did conversion rates decrease? Our 2021 year-end report showed a decrease in conversion rate largely driven by lapsed-buyer and product review messages, which saw the two most significant declines from 2020 to 2021. This trend continued during H1 2022, with these two messages dropping 56% and 26% respectively, again bringing down the overall figure.
Which messages had the most significant increase in conversion rate? Browse abandonment messages saw the largest YoY increase (50%) of all non-transactional automated messages. These were closely followed by cross-sell emails which saw a 45% increase. For transactional messages, order confirmation messages saw a 3.2% conversion rate, and shipping confirmation messages had a conversion rate of 1.7%, a 37% and 6% increase respectively.
Automation vs. campaign emails
Comparing conversion rates of the two, it is evident how impactful marketing automation is for ecommerce brands looking to increase their email marketing sales. Compared to promotional email campaigns, automated emails saw an increase of 80% in open rates, 342% in click rates, and greater than 2200% in conversion rates.
Sending timely and relevant messages that enhance a customer’s shopping journey matters. This is why high-shopping-intent messages like behavior-based automation continue to power sales. Ecommerce brands should not only implement email marketing automation but include aspects of these messages in their campaign emails as well.
Ecommerce brands should:
- Implement automated behavior-based messaging especially welcome, cart abandonment, and browse and product abandonment messages.
- Include customer journey elements such as product recommendations, customer testimonials, and competitive value-adds in promotional emails.
- Use workflow splits and segmentation to optimize automated email journeys such as splitting abandoned cart messages based on abandoners’ purchase histories.
- Optimize order and shipping confirmation messages to combine transactional and sales-focused content.
2022 email marketing click rates
The click rate for promotional campaigns ended the first half at 1.2%, down from 1.47%. Automated messages ended with a 5.32% click rate, down from 5.68%. For campaign emails, the decrease may be attributed to the 52% increase in email sends YoY.
Even with the slight decrease, click rates for automated emails are 343% better than campaign emails—and each click matters. Thirty-five percent of subscribers who click on an automated email go on to make a purchase compared to 6.75% of those who click on a campaign email. Regardless of the type of email clicked on, the click-to-conversion rate easily surpasses numbers seen with paid social and paid search, and comes with a lower cost.
Even though click rates declined slightly, they are still strong for both campaigns and automated emails and are effective at engaging shoppers. Knowing, at worst, one out of 14 clicks will generate a sale, increasing clicks should be a priority for brands.
- Optimize emails to maximize clicks. This can be done by promoting competitive differentiators, showcasing product recommendations and social proof, and creating mobile-optimized emails with clear calls to action.
- Because one of every three automated message clicks leads to a sale, increasing the number of behavior-based messages to better guide customers’ shopping journeys should be a top priority for ecommerce brands.
- Actively grow email marketing and SMS lists, and add SMS marketing to their automated workflows (more on this below). More automated messages mean more opportunities to engage.
2022 email marketing open rates
Open rates for promotional campaigns finished H1 at 22.9%, a whopping 94% increase YoY. Automated messages finished at 41.3%, a 30.1% YoY increase. The reason for the large increase is simple: iOS 15.
Last September, Apple released iOS 15 which, among other things, marked emails received on Apple Mail as opened, regardless of whether or not they were seen by the subscriber. The impact was initially seen during Q4 2021 but now a much clearer picture of the impact is evident. Not only is open rate a skewed metric but so are other open-based metrics, like click-to-open-rate.
The goal for ecommerce brands should be to optimize subject lines to maximize real opens regardless of the metric. It’s obvious, but the more actual opens that are generated the more opportunities there are to increase clicks which leads to sales.
Look beyond open rates as a metric and focus on what causes subscribers to open an email. Ecommerce brands should:
- Continue optimizing their subject lines for maximum performance. This free subject line tester tool is a perfect way to help you create the best email marketing subject lines.
- Use preheader text strategically to support the subject line and convey additional information important to subscribers.
- Utilize emojis and special characters in your subject lines. These can help emails stand out, especially on mobile devices, and will be important during high-volume send days like Black Friday.
- Segment your emails. By consistently delivering relevant content, subscribers will become accustomed to knowing that when they open an email they will be greeted with content that matters to them, increasing the likelihood they will open future emails.
- Use timezone optimization when scheduling campaigns to give yourself the best chance of landing in the inbox at the right time.
2022 SMS marketing benchmarks
In 2020, ecommerce brands sent 376% more text messages than the year prior. In 2021, it increased by another 75%, including 258% more automated SMS. During the first half of 2022, brands continued this trajectory. Through the first half of 2022, brands sent 47% more promotional SMS and 36% more total SMS than during the same period in 2021.
Automated SMS message sends decreased by 10% through the first half of 2022 driven mostly by a slowdown in April and May. June, however, saw an uptick in automated sends, and based on historical trends we expect the increase to continue.
Even with a 10% decrease in sends, automated SMS messages still generated 28% more orders compared to the same period in 2021. The effectiveness of SMS automation is here to stay.
SMS conversion rates
Promotional SMS decreased in H1 from 0.27% to 0.21% YoY. Since messages like this are less segmented, decreases like this are not unexpected when accompanied by large increases in promotional sends.
Automated SMS, on the other hand, had the opposite effect. A 10% decrease in sends resulted in a 42% increase in conversion rate, ending the first half at 0.93%.
The discrepancy as to why conversion rates dropped for campaigns but increased for automation lies in the fact that automated messages are behavior-based and, therefore, consistently relevant for the recipient. This is a strong indicator that consumers find value in SMS being a part of their shopping journey.
SMS click rates
Click rates for promotional SMS finished H1 at 11.3%, a 2.2% increase YoY. Automated SMS saw a similar click rate of 11.6%, although this signifies a 5% decrease YoY. Even with a 35% YoY increase in total SMS sent in H1, click rates remained steady (a 0.5% increase), demonstrating how effective and important a channel SMS is as a part of the customer journey.
SMS marketing has been embraced by both consumers and brands. Marketers are not only using it as a promotional channel but are applying the lessons learned with email to their SMS automation strategy. Brands focused on growing sales need to implement an SMS strategy.
- SMS and email list growth should be focused equally. Collect mobile numbers on the same forms and methods as email addresses, and promote your SMS program inside of emails.
- Include SMS into all automated workflows, especially the welcome, abandoned cart, browse abandonment, and order and shipping confirmation series.
- Brands should segment their promotional SMS campaigns to ensure message relevance and increase conversion rate.
- SMS is a more immediate channel than email. Promotional SMS campaigns are perfect for time-sensitive offers like flash sales and last-chance reminders.
2022 push notification benchmarks
Similar to SMS, web push messages are being increasingly utilized by ecommerce brands. Through the first half of 2022, brands sent 260% more campaign messages and 27% more automated push messages YoY. Overall, brands have sent 34% more web push messages in H1 than they did in all of 2021.
Even with this increased adoption, it is a channel whose strategy is still emerging but holds real potential. Web push messages were responsible for more than 40,000 orders during the first half of 2022.
Web push conversion rates
Conversion rates for both promotional and automated web push declined in H1 compared to the year before. Campaigns slipped from 0.2% to 0.09% and automated conversion rates went from 1.36% to 0.99%.
Seeing as sends for both types of messages increased drastically, the decrease in overall conversion rate isn’t all that surprising. More important is how effective these messages are at engaging consumers and driving sales. For promotional web push campaigns, 35% of people who clicked on a message went on to make a purchase. For automated messages, this number jumps to an amazing 44%.
Web push open rates
Open rates for promotional push campaigns ended H1 at 17.9%, down from 26.6% over the same period in 2021. Automated push messages gained 2.3% YoY, ending the first half at a healthy 63.6%. While the decline in promotional open rate may seem concerning at first glance, a near 18% open rate should still be considered a healthy number.
The noticeable difference between open rates for campaigns and automated messages is stark and speaks to the effectiveness of these messages when used in the same automated workflows as email and SMS messages to create a unified customer journey.
Web push click rates
Promotional push campaigns ended H1 with a 0.25% click rate, down from 0.57% in 2021, while automated messages finished at 2.24%, up slightly from 2.21%. While the click rate for automated messages remains consistent, the noticeable drop is with promotional campaigns.
Click rates for promotional campaigns have been declining steadily since push message adoption has accelerated, notably in 2020. Assessing the past two years of data, we see this as less of a reflection of decreasing performance but rather a settling toward a natural performance baseline.
With two straight years of growth, over 73 million messages sent in H1, and a 43% YoY increase in orders, it’s safe to say that web push is an opt-in channel brands should explore.
Considering more than one-third of all campaign clickers and nearly one-half of automated message clickers go on to make a purchase, brands should look to optimize these messages for clicks, and include push messages in their omnichannel workflows, especially during the holiday season.
2022 email marketing recap and takeaways
The first half of 2022 combined with previous years’ data has shown ecommerce brands which channels consumers are engaging with to help guide their shopping journeys. Brands can use this information to better solidify their marketing programs and prepare for a busy and uncertain holiday shopping season.
In the first half of the year, we saw SMS sends continue to increase and automated SMS conversion rates jumped nearly 50%, generating 28% more orders. Web push channels truly emerged, sending more messages than they did in all of 2021 and generating more orders than ever. Email marketing sends, both promotional and automation, increased YoY and continue to be a reliable channel for ecommerce brands, especially when it comes to automation. Automated emails generated 29% of all email orders in H1 and accounted for only 1.75% of sends.
Here are the main takeaways from the first half of 2022 and how brands can apply them to increase their sales for the holiday season.
- Implement behavior-based email marketing automation. One in three people who click on automated messages go on to make a purchase. Automations with the highest conversion rates are welcome, cart abandonment, and product abandonment messages.
- Order and shipping confirmation messages are key components to customers’ overall purchase experiences—and they convert. Optimize these messages with product recommendations to maximize cross-sell and up-sell potential.
- The growth of SMS, especially its effectiveness in automations, continues to increase. Focus on actively growing your SMS list and implementing messages into your automation workflows. Automated SMS converts 349% greater than promotional campaign texts.
- Web push messages continue to grow and convert more than one-third of consumers who engage with them. Experiment with web push messages in automation and as a complement to other potentially higher-cost retargeting channels.
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