The Value of Unopened Email

Unopened Emails Don’t Suck.

Email Marketers live for open rates. They make us feel good and provide a directional metric on the performance of the campaign. While we all want every single email opened and engaged with, the reality is that it will never happen.

However, an unopened email does provide a fair amount of value to the programs we run.

Embrace The Unopened.

First, subscribers who delete an unopened email are exposed to your brand via the From line. Exposure like this can keep your company tangentially top of mind and might even prompt them to engage with you in offline or other channels such as your site or social media.

For example, I love to go on cruises. While I can’t go on 12 a year, I am continually being sent emails from my favorite cruise line and their loyalty program that serve as a mental reminder that when I am ready to book, I will likely seek them out via the web. In this case, the email program has influenced attribution in me booking my next cruise. I might not go back to click on an email to book, but the name exposure serves as this fractional reminder that is placed deep inside my brain.

Second, subject lines can have a massive influence on the unopened email. If the subject line was compelling and clear about what I should do, it stands a greater chance of providing influenced attribution in a conversion.

A great example of this could be if I received an email about a streaming service promotion. During a conversation with a friend or a colleague about shows to watch, I heard about this show that sounded interesting but found that I wasn’t a member of this streaming service that carried it. I hope that my memory of this promotion from said streaming service would kick in, and I would go directly to the app store or site and sign up. Again, this will be influenced attribution.

Lastly, the subject line will always have a down-the-line effect of whether or not the subscriber will open and engage in future emails.

So when you think about the next subject line you write, think about it from the standpoint of getting people to open it and remembering it.

The Unopened Rate Can Be Effective.

Unopened emails can and will have a lasting effect on your program. It may not always be visible or attributable, but that is ok. At iPost, we don’t recommend that you add the unopened email rate to your campaign reporting. Still, something that you might want to consider us for is to help you with a custom attribution model that considers influenced attribution.