Nov 2, 2016

The Value of a Resend Campaign, By the Numbers

resend-blog

The phrase “one weird trick” usually sets off alarm bells, but what if I told you there was one weird trick that could increase your open rates by 8.7%? It’s true, and I have the data to prove it. All you have to do is resend your campaign to subscribers who didn’t open the first time.

Open rates on resend campaigns don’t perform as well as they do on the first send, but they’re not terrible, either. We looked at 1,300 instances where the user sent a campaign and then re-sent it shortly after. The average open rate on the original campaign was 26.7%. That’s not bad, but these users knew they could do better, so they re-sent the campaign and got enough new opens to increase the original open rate by 8.7 points. That’s a significant-enough chunk of your list seeing a promotion that could make or break your quarter.

original_with_resend_open_rate

Of course, opens aren’t the only thing that matters. Clicks are important too, and you should always be wary of list attrition from unsubscribes and abuse complaints. I should also note that abuse complaints can severely impact your deliverability, and you don’t want to gamble with your ability to reach the inbox. We decided to explore what factors make resend campaigns more or less successful.

Our methodology

The way we measured the impact of the resends is important, so let me detail that process. We decided to measure based on the additional impact the resend campaign had on total opens, clicks, unsubs, and abuse complaints from the original send.

In other words, we didn’t look at the open rate of the resend campaign; we looked at the list from the original campaign and treated the opens from the resend campaign as if they added to the opens from the original campaign.

We liked this measurement because it shows the real impact of the resend campaign on what matters: the number of subscribers who see your email.

Change the subject line?
Verdict: Don’t do it.

resend_vs_original_subject_difference

These charts show the additional opens, clicks, unsubs, and abuse complaints our users saw after sending resend campaigns. In this case, we divided resends into two buckets: those who kept the same subject line and those who changed it.

People who used a different subject line for their resend campaign saw fewer opens and more abuse complaints than people who kept the same subject line. The difference in click rates and unsubscribe rates was minimal, so this one is a slam dunk. It’s better to keep the subject line you used the first time.

Change the visible From name?
Verdict: Don’t do it.

resend_vs_original_from_difference

The visible From name is the name most subscribers will see when your email hits their inbox. The data suggests that changing the visible From name does increase opens, but it decreases clicks while massively increasing unsubscribes and abuse complaints. Our advice is to keep your visible From name the same. You may get more subscribers to open the email, but you probably won’t get more subscribers to engage with the email in a positive way.

The whys behind the numbers

Resending a campaign can be a powerful way to get more opens and clicks on key campaigns, but it comes with risks. According to the data, it looks like you can minimize the risks by keeping your subject line and visible From name the same. Why? I can only speculate, but I imagine it boils down to trust. If you’re honest and straightforward about who you are and why you’re sending an email, most subscribers are happy to keep engaging with you. After all, that’s why they signed up, so there’s no need to get tricky.

In a future post, we’ll explore more variables on resend campaigns like the optimal number of days to wait before resending and whether changing the time of day between the original campaign and the resend gets more opens.