Response Rate Study

What response rate will I get?

That has always been the first question when creating a direct mail campaign. And the answer has always been “That depends.”

The answer is valid because there are so many variables effecting response rates: type of mailing piece (elaborate or plain like a postcard), size, weight (heavy adds importance), color and the list goes on and on.

But two most important factors are the advertising creative and the mailing list.

Most marketers of any volume are always testing new approaches and variables. But usually the are reluctant to publish confidential information about what works best for them. They paid to learn it and letting it be known might let a competitor use it against them.

But occasionally, there have been industry wide studies. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) published this one in 2003. The Association of National Advertisers acquired the DMA is July 2018. This may have been the last study of it’s kind covering virtually every advertising channel from direct mail, email, inserts, radio, response TD and more.

The specific response rates in the study may be outmoded, but relatively it shows how different advertsing channels compare in response. Speaking to the expression “That depends” you see that direct mail ranged from a low of 0.003% to a high of 18.75% with a median of 1.5% and average of 2.55%. That is quite a spread.

Careful study of the results should bring you knowledge to apply to you own marketing.

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