Direct Mail Response Rate Report 2021

direct mail response rate report

Direct Mail Performance

Direct mail still delivers the highest return on investment!

direct mail response rate report

ANA DIRECT MEDIA RESPONSE RATE REPORT 2021

Direct mail coupled with other marketing platforms tops the list with 112% ROI!

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has released its long awaited 2021 Response Rate Report (membership required) that once again reinforces direct mail ROI as the highest of all channels they studied. Once again proving direct mail is the most effective marketing solution.

As has been reported over and over, all marketing channels (email, social media, paid search, digital display, sms, and direct mail) have seen independent success as standalone efforts, depending on how they are focused.

Leveraging a multi-format offering across multiple production platforms, direct mail ROI topped the list at 112% ―a stronger return than from any other channel!

That may explain why nearly half (46%) of study participants said they planned to increase their use of direct mail in the next twelve months.

The partnering of direct mail with other channels continues to prove to be the catalyst of increase response.

Looking to increase your direct mail marketing campaign response by 23-46%?  Learn more >

ROI of Campaigns by Medium

Study participants who sent letter-sized envelopes to prospect lists through direct mail reported the highest ROI of all media in 2020 (112%), followed closely by SMS (102%) and email to prospect lists (93%).

ANA RESPONSE RATE REPORT 2021 | HIGHLIGHTS

  • Direct mail ranks fifth for usage in marketing campaigns, averaging 38 percent across all industries. The industry segments reporting the strongest use of direct mail for marketing campaigns were Automotive (70 percent), Travel and Hospitality (53 percent), and Financial Services (52 percent).

  • For respondents who track direct mail response rates, over half use online tracking capabilities (59 percent), such as Personalized URLs (PURLs). The use of codes or coupons ranked a distant second (29 percent), followed by call center or telephone inquiries and matchback (25 percent).

  • The top reported purpose of direct mail by B2B and split B2B/B2C marketers was to generate leads. However, the primary purpose among B2C marketers was equally divided between making a direct sale, driving traffic to retail locations, and engaging prospects/customers.

  • B2B marketers were most likely to report the use of “house” (customer) mailing lists, whereas B2C and split B2B/B2C marketers were most likely to use a combination of “house” and “prospect” lists.

  • The most popular direct mail format sent to “house” lists was letter-sized envelopes. None of this study’s B2C participants used oversized envelopes. B2B and split B2B/B2C marketers were the most frequent users of dimensional mail.

  • The mail format that produced the best ROI to “house” lists was postcards (92 percent). The mail format that produced the best ROI to “prospects” lists was letter-sized envelopes (112 percent), the highest of all media types. Other notable mail formats to prospect lists include dimensional and oversized envelopes, both of which eclipsed the 90 percent ROI threshold.

  • For direct mail sent to “prospect” lists, 39 percent of respondents reported the primary purpose was to engage potential prospects.

  • The most popular direct mail format sent to “prospect” lists was letter-sized envelopes. Split B2B/B2C marketers were the most frequent users of letter-sized envelopes to “prospect” lists, followed closely by B2C marketers who send postcards.

  • Regarding future use, 46 percent of this study’s participants plan to increase their usage of direct mail in the next 12 months

DIRECT MAIL FORMATS - NEW DATA

Direct Mail coupled with other marketing platforms tops the response list with 112% ROI!

Based on the DMA’s “Direct Mail Response Rates 2003-2018”, House List response rose 125% from its 2015 levels and Prospect Lists (acquisition) rose 400% for the same period.

Average direct mail ROI ranges from of 85% to 112% depending on direct mail formats and list usage.

Preferred by more than half of marketers, the letter-sized envelope is the most used direct mail format for both house and prospect mailings. Postcards are a close second, with 49% of marketers using the compact format when mailing to house lists and 51% when mailing to prospects. House lists receive oversized envelopes 21% of the time and dimensional packages 19%. When mailing to prospects, dimensional packages (29% of direct mail mailings) are 3% more likely to be used over oversized envelopes (used with 27% frequency).

Speak with a Spectrum marketing expert to discover which mail formats, lists, and mailing programs will deliver the highest predicted ROI for your specific business and industry.  Contact Us >

Woof Meow Mailer in hands

EMAIL - RESPONSE RATES

Open Rates on Informed Delivery Emails in Comparison to Prospect/House Emails are NEARLY DOUBLE

Response Rate Report participants reported average email open rates of 32% when sent to prospect lists and 37% when sent to house lists.

While both of these figures are up compared to results reported in 2020, it is notable that they significantly lag the open rates for Informed Delivery emails that are consistently north of 60%.

The open rate for Informed Delivery email is impressive — 64% to 80%.

Informed Delivery from Spectrum Mail Plus

Spectrum can easily add Informed Delivery to your next direct mail campaign.  Learn more >

Most Used Mediums

The study revealed that email was the most used medium in all campaign types (B2B, B2C, and split B2B/B2C), averaging an 82 percent usage rate among respondents. Social media came in second at 74 percent. Beyond email and social media, the report included overall findings for paid search (51 percent), digital display advertising (42 percent), direct mail (38 percent), and SMS (18 percent).

  • Most respondents came from small companies with annual revenues of $25 million or less (56 percent), 24 percent from medium-sized companies (between $26 and $500 million in annual revenue), and 20 percent from large companies (over $500 million in annual revenue).
  • Sixty-five percent of respondents reported revenue growth at their organizations in the most recently completed fiscal year.

Future Marketing Channel Strategy

Nearly 80% of ANA respondents plan to continue or increase the use of direct mail.

At least half of those surveyed plan to increase their use of email, paid search, social media advertising, and SMS over the next year. Social media advertising usage is the least likely to decrease. In the future, DTC participants are most interested in learning more about QR codes, organic search, and live chat technologies for direct marketing use.

How Direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketers are using direct mail

Among DTC marketers, the intent of a direct mail campaign is equally divided amongst making a direct sale (17%), engaging prospects (17%), engaging customers (17%), and driving traffic to retail locations (17%).

Customer communication (12%), lead generation (8%), and brand awareness (4%) are also among top priorities for DTC mailers.

Most DTC direct mail campaigns include a combination of prospect and house lists. 

75% of DTC marketers prefer postcards when mailing to prospects.

 When mailing to house lists, letter-sized envelopes (61%) are used most frequently.

Industries using direct mail marketing

Automotive is the number one industry using direct mail (70%), followed by travel and hospitality (53%), financial services (51%), and retail (48%). Nearly half of marketers use the offline channel for B2B products and services (42%), financial services/insurance (41%), and health care (40). Consumer products and services (36%), technology and communications (31%), and publishing/media/entertainment (29%) complete the top ten mailers.

RESPONSE TRACKING

Online tracking, such as Personalized URLs (PURLs), is the preferred response rate tracking method by 59% of respondents. Codes or coupons (29%), call center or telephone (25%), match back (25%), and linked sales transactions (20%) follow. Derived or calculated (13%) and list coding (8%) are the least used response metrics.  Learn more about how to track your mail campaigns here >

All this makes print more powerful than ever for marketing.

Haptics, the neuroscience of touch, holds that being able to touch something makes us feel differently about it — we place greater value on it. Thirty-six percent of people report having brand recognition after seeing a piece of print; just 18% report brand recognition after seeing a digital ad.
brand recognition print vs digital
65% of consumers say mail lifts their spirits

There is also digital fatigue.

Digital advertising fatigue can also contribute to increase interest in direct mail marketing. According to a study by Sappi, 65% of consumers agree that mail lifts their spirits. Households receive on average just two pieces of mail per day, versus 157 email messages. Plus, with 7 in 10 white collar workers in the U.S. still working from home, mail is a welcome distraction. It’s part of the reason the USPS is consistently ranked as the most popular entity in government.

Mail is more important than before the pandemic and could offer the physicality missing at retail.

The pandemic has affected shopping behaviors, notably retail shopping which means the mail is a new source of information and inspiration.

Woman reading mail

ADDING A ONE - TWO PUNCH FOR IMPACT

Direct mail isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. It plays well with digital communication.

There’s a 28% increase in conversion rate for marketing when direct mail and digital ads are used together as a one-two punch. And consumers say they prefer to receive direct mail and digital over any other media, including social media.

Those facts suggest that if your retail marketing strategy has defaulted to digital only, you’re missing an opportunity.  Don’t miss out >

DIRECT mail plus retargeting

  • 96% unique visitors leave your website without purchase/signup

  • 26% will return to your site to take action after being retargeted with display ads

  • Use mail to get them to web and retargeting to get them to return. Explore the technologies available that tie together your physical direct mail and digital.

Design Tips

You have five seconds to get your mail opened or ditched. Let your design team bring you more impactful ideas that are right for your specific audience.

  • Make it highly visual; we process images 60,000x faster than text
  • Use either real handwriting or a handwriting app for a more human, genuine feel
  • Employ the envelope back as a billboard and the flap side as address side
  • Be creative with paper stocks, dimensions, inks and folds. If your potential customers value sustainability, choose eco-friendly paper stock
QR Code Interactive Mailer

The increased level of direct mail response in the last 3 years represents a remarkable reversal of the previous trend and underlines the fact that something truly amazing is happening in this traditional channel.

Don't miss an opportunity to enjoy a superior marketing ROI!

ANA

*All relevant data has been pulled from this year’s ANA Response Rate Report 2021. (Source: ANA Response Rate Report 2021)

SPEAK WITH A MARKETING EXPERT TODAY!

Top 7 Reasons Direct Mail Wins More Customers

Top 7 Reasons direct mail ins more customers

Top 7 Reasons Direct Mail Wins More Customers

Going into 2018 the DMA stated the following in their Statistical Fact Book.

“For those of you who are already on the direct mail bandwagon – because you really should be in this day and age – here’s what you should know about 2018: It’s going to be irresistibly amazing!”

This prediction has certainly proven to be the case.
Top 7 Reasons direct mail ins more customers

1) Better Response Than Other Channels

The 2018 ANA/DMA Response Rate book defined direct mail as having the best response rate among all other marketing channels. Direct mail crushes the other channels with a 9% response rate for house lists and a 5% rate for prospect lists. Combined, the other channels only manage 3.3% across both house and prospect lists.
With email and social media marketing on the rise, consumers have become exposed to hundreds of advertisements on a daily basis, some more intrusive than others. In doing so, consumers have become numb to digital media advertising and have even taken measures to remove the ads from their reach. Coincidentally, even as email continues to be the most used tool for advertising, it is hardly the most effective with a 1% response rate by prospect list (a 0.8% increase from 2017).
Response Rate by Selected Media

2) Effective Targeting

Direct mail, when implemented properly into a marketing campaign, has the ability to target very specific demographics. When you tailor your campaign to appeal to your ideal audience, you increase the potential for response by cutting out the customers who are less likely to respond to your marketing efforts.

3) More Trusted By Consumers

There’s something about a tangible piece of collateral that tells consumers that you’re trustworthy. Consumers are more likely to trust your business if you send them a physical piece of mail rather than send digital communication.

4) It’s More Persuasive

Direct mail has a similar effect over consumers in persuasion as it does trustworthiness. Sensory stimulation is a proven tactic in retail; a consumer’s likelihood to purchase is in fact correlated with the number of items they touch.

5) Direct Mail Is More Memorable

When you receive a direct mail piece, it touches more of your senses than digital marketing does. When you allow consumers to touch, see, and smell your direct mail piece, they’re more likely to remember your business. Direct mail, when saved, also serves as a constant reminder more so than digital channels.

6) Creative Options Allows For Unique Engagement

Direct mail can create a better response by engaging with consumers in a more memorable way. Use custom folds and die-cuts to create an interactive piece that is a more engaging experience for customers.

7) Able To Reach All Demographic Groups

If there’s a demographic group that is part of your ideal audience, direct mail can target it. Our team can segment your mailing list with many demographic and geographic filters including age, housing, financial interests, hobbies, geography, and more.

81%

of survey respondents plan to maintain or increase usage of direct mail in the next 12 months.

Direct Mail Response Rate Continued From Blog

*All relevant data has been pulled from this year’s 2018 Direct Marketing Association response rate report, publishing important data regarding direct mail relative to digital channels. (Source: ANA/DMA Response Rate Report 2018)

Direct Mail Has Explosive Response

Direct Mail Explosive Growth

Direct Mail Records the Highest Response Since Being Tracked!

Direct mail’s performance is the highest it’s been since the DMA / ANA (Data & Marketing Association / Association of National Advertisers) has been tracking it and here’s why so many marketers are finding a historic level of success.
Direct Mail Response Rates
The increased level of direct mail response in the last 3 years represents a remarkable reversal of the previous trend and underlines the fact that something truly amazing is happening in this traditional channel. Based on the DMA’s “Direct Mail Response Rates 2003-2018”, House List (customer) response rose 125% from its 2015 levels and Prospect Lists (acquisition) rose 400% for the same period.

The contributing factors to Direct Mail’s recent success:

It's More Trusted

Print-based media including publications, catalogs and promotional materials received in the mail are the MOST TRUSTED by consumers when making a purchasing decision (based on surveys conducted by MarketingSherpa*). This comes at a time when other major channels like digital are being viewed with increased skepticism due to data breaches, spam, questionable content and elevated privacy concerns.

Better Data & Lists

Companies have made it a priority to maintain their customer data to a higher standard than in previous years. They are now using this data more effectively than ever to influence the purchase behaviors of their existing customers (higher frequency of purchase / increased level of purchase) and model prospect data to more effectively find “look-alike” customers to acquire.
Direct Mail Explosive Growth

Better Pieces & Offers

With the implementation of improved testing methodologies, marketers are able to optimize their efforts by testing mail formats, offers and a range of other variables to achieve the best overall approach. With POS systems supporting features like scannable coupon codes and other tracking, marketers are able to use data captured by previous campaigns to improve results in the future.

84%

of Millennials take the time to look through their mail and 64% would rather scan for useful information in the mail than e-mail. In addition, this generation even believes paper mail is a more reliable and viable source of communication (USPS Mail Moments Review).

Mobile Shift

The shift to a “mobile first” mindset and consumers interacting on mobile devices at a higher rate than desktops has changed the impact various digital advertising formats have. What was previously viewed on large desktop screens is now either much smaller on a mobile device, limited in its “rich media nature” or requires drilling down further to see any of the content in the case of email.

Direct Mail Response Rate Continued From Blog

*All relevant data has been pulled from this year’s 2018 Direct Marketing Association response rate report, publishing important data regarding direct mail relative to digital channels. (Source: ANA/DMA Response Rate Report 2018)
*Reference to survey on “Which advertising channels consumers trust most and least when making purchases” (Source: Marketing Sherpa)

Direct Mail Response Rates for 2018

Response Rate by Selected Media

Direct Mail Response Rates Rose Significantly In 2018!

Direct mail still remains one of the most effective ways to market to your consumers due to its ability to create a lasting impression on consumers and return a high value for businesses.

There was significant growth in direct mail response rates from 2017 to 2018! House rates rose to 9% (3.9% increase) while prospect response rates rose to 5% (2.1% increase). This is the highest number for house lists since the report started.

With email and social media marketing on the rise, consumers have become exposed to hundreds of advertisements on a daily basis, some more intrusive than others. In doing so, consumers have become numb to digital media advertising and have even taken measures to remove the ads from their reach. Coincidentally, even as email continues to be the most used tool for advertising, it is hardly the most effective with a 1% response rate by prospect list (a 0.8% increase from 2017).
The difference we’re seeing in email marketing compared to direct mail marketing is that the ROI numbers for email marketing are high, but, that’s only due to its incredibly low cost.
Quantitatively email marketing is great, however, quality engagements and customer acquisitions come from direct mail.
Response Rate by Selected Media

Ignoring direct mail is more difficult than ignoring email.

Direct mail shines among consumers as your physical mailbox now harbors unique and effective pieces that catch the eye. It is much easier to breeze through your email account, or ignore large numbers of emails in your cluttered inbox.  There is something special about holding a eye-catching creative mail piece in your hand and experiencing the special offer as it was meant to be.

Direct mail response rates are growing faster than other media.

Online display, email, and social media response rates have all rose as well though not as much, which, stands to reason that direct mail still has strong pulling power for business in attracting new customers while also keeping long-term customers coming back.

Looking to increase response rates for your company?

If your company is interested in increasing your campaign response rates, Spectrum has the proven strategies and solutions to get you there.  If you are interested in increased ROI, deliverable brand awareness, and most importantly better marketing RESULTS; consider direct mail from Spectrum as your one-way ticket to more successful advertising campaigns.

Direct Mail Response Rate Continued From Blog

*All relevant data has been pulled from this year’s 2018 Direct Marketing Association response rate report, publishing important data regarding direct mail relative to digital channels. (Source: ANA/DMA Response Rate Report 2018)

Direct Mail Response Rates for 2017

2017 Direct Mail Response rates

Direct Mail Response Rates Held Strong In 2017

Direct mail still remains one of the most effective ways to market to your consumers due to its ability to create a lasting impression on consumers and return a high value for businesses.
With email and social media marketing on the rise, consumers have become exposed to hundreds of advertisements on a daily basis, some more intrusive than others. In doing so, consumers have become numb to digital media advertising and have even taken measures to remove the ads from their reach. Coincidentally, even as email continues to be the most used tool for advertising, it is hardly the most effective with only a 0.2% response rate by prospect list (a 0.1% drop from 2016). The difference we’re seeing in email marketing to direct mail marketing is that the numbers in ROI for email marketing are high, but, that’s only due to its incredibly low cost. Quantitatively email marketing is great, however, quality acquisitions come from direct mail.
2017 Direct Mail Response rates
Effectively, email has given direct mail a chance to shine among consumers as your physical mailbox now harbors unique and effective pieces that catch the eye. It is easy to breeze through your email inbox, but there is something special about holding a mail piece in your hand and experiencing the offer as it was meant to be.
While there hasn’t been significant growth in direct mail stats from 2016 we see that the response rate barely budged. House rates dropped only 0.2% while prospect response rates stayed right where they were, at 2.9%.
Online display, email, and social media response rates have all dropped since last year, which, stands to reason that direct mail still has strong pulling power for business in attracting new customers while also keeping long-term customers coming back.
If your company is interested in increased ROI, deliverable brand awareness and most importantly RESULTS; consider direct mail marketing as your one-way ticket to a successful advertising campaign.
*All relevant data has been pulled from this year’s 2017 Direct Marketing Association response rate report, publishing important data regarding direct mail relative to digital channels.

Direct Mail Response Rates for 2016

Response rats for 2018

Direct Mail Response Rates Rose Significantly in 2018

Direct mail still remains one of the most effective ways to market to your consumers due to its ability to create a lasting impression on consumers and return a high value for businesses.

There was significant growth in direct mail response rates from 2017 to 2018! House rates rose to 9% (3.9% increase) while prospect response rates rose to 5% (2.1% increase). This is the highest number for house lists since the report started.

With email and social media marketing on the rise, consumers have become exposed to hundreds of advertisements on a daily basis, some more intrusive than others. In doing so, consumers have become numb to digital media advertising and have even taken measures to remove the ads from their reach. Coincidentally, even as email continues to be the most used tool for advertising, it is hardly the most effective with a 1% response rate by prospect list (a 0.8% increase from 2017).
The difference we’re seeing in email marketing compared to direct mail marketing is that the ROI numbers for email marketing are high, but, that’s only due to its incredibly low cost.
Quantitatively email marketing is great, however, quality engagements and customer acquisitions come from direct mail.
Response rats for 2018

Ignoring direct mail is more difficult than ignoring email.

Direct mail shines among consumers as your physical mailbox now harbors unique and effective pieces that catch the eye. It is much easier to breeze through your email account, or ignore large numbers of emails in your cluttered inbox.  There is something special about holding a eye-catching creative mail piece in your hand and experiencing the special offer as it was meant to be.

Direct mail response rates are growing faster than other media.

Online display, email, and social media response rates have all rose as well though not as much, which, stands to reason that direct mail still has strong pulling power for business in attracting new customers while also keeping long-term customers coming back.

Looking to increase response rates for your company?

If your company is interested in increasing your campaign response rates, Spectrum has the proven strategies and solutions to get you there.  If you are interested in increased ROI, deliverable brand awareness, and most importantly better marketing RESULTS; consider direct mail from Spectrum as your one-way ticket to more successful advertising campaigns.

Direct Mail Response Rate Continued From Blog

*All relevant data has been pulled from this year’s 2018 Direct Marketing Association response rate report, publishing important data regarding direct mail relative to digital channels. (Source: ANA/DMA Response Rate Report 2018)