Mail volumes at highest level in two years

4% of mail prompted a purchase in Q1 2022
4% of mail prompted a purchase in Q1 2022

JICMail, the joint industry currency for ad mail, has released its data for Q1 2022, a period that saw mail volumes on the panel reach their highest level since Q1 2020.

The data covering the period from January to March 2022 showed that over 12,500 mail items were tracked by panellists across direct mail, door drops, business mail, and Partially Addressed Mail (PAM), taking the entire JICMail database to just under 230,000 items.

Combined with Royal Mail’s recently released financial results, which showed that the volume of advertising mail grew by 30% in the twelve months to the end of March 2022, JICMail said there are clear signs of post-pandemic advertiser confidence in the mail channel.

The top ten advertisers accounted for 23% of all mail volumes in Q1 2022, up from 21% a year ago and signalling “continued confidence in the mail channel from some of the largest marketing budget holders in the UK”, according to JICMail.

The mail channel continued to maintain the effectiveness benchmarks it established during the pandemic, with 5% of mail prompting consumers to look up their account details in Q1 2022, and 4% prompting a purchase.

9% of business mail prompted account look-ups, compared to 4% of direct mail. 6% of business mail prompted a purchase – a comparable figure to direct mail.

As of this period, JICMail is now reporting key mail media metrics for PAM as standard through its data portal JICMail Discovery. PAM generates four times as many ad impressions compared to mail volumes, and the average piece of PAM stays in the home for 6.6 days on average.

Elsewhere, the data found that the typical piece of direct mail was interacted with 4.4 times on average in Q1 and shared with 1.1 people per household.

Door drops recorded an average frequency of 3.0 and an item reach of 1.1 people per household. Business mail was interacted with 4.8 times on average and shared with 1.2 people per household and PAM recorded an average frequency of 4.0 and an item reach of 1.1 people per household.

The average door drop was kept in the home for 5.4 days before being filed or thrown away/recycled, with direct mail kept for 7.4 days, and business mail retained for 9.1 days.

Ian Gibbs, JICMail director of data leadership and learning, said: “The rising cost of living and an unstable geo-political situation doesn’t exactly make a fertile ground for marketing effectiveness, with consumer response arguably much harder to come by now than it was even during the pandemic.

“It’s encouraging to see the mail channel continue to maintain its effectiveness therefore – effectiveness that has been rewarded by continued growth in mail volumes as the largest brands in the UK continue to show confidence in the mail channel’s ability to deliver on their marketing objectives.”

JICMail data is gathered from a panel of 1,000 households every month. The mail activity of every household member is tracked using a diary-based app. Every mail item they receive over the course of a week is captured and everything they do with that mail item over the course of a month is recorded.

Separately, JICMail has formed a new partnership with the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) to offer “the most accurate and detailed picture of the UK door drop market available”.

The DMA’s Door Drop Report 2022, found that in 2021 both spend on door drops and the volume sent increased following a pandemic impacted 2020. Spend rose by 15.5% year-on-year to £182m (£143.5m in 2020), while volumes were up by 14.3% to just over 3.5 billion units (2.7 billion last year).

DMA director of insight Tim Bond said that while there was a healthy return to volume and ad spend growth in the market in 2021, lower than average ad spend growth means that door drops have lost share in overall media budgets.

“This may be down to a lag in media spend on door drops while many physical stores and premises were unable to fully reopen due to restrictions in the first half of 2020,” he said.

“However, this also presents a key opportunity for advertisers that are willing to seize it. Brands that move first to ramp up door drop activity while their competitors are less active in this space, these are the businesses that will enjoy a higher share of doormats and greater visibility in consumers’ homes. It’s these brands that will also benefit from the engagement and effectiveness the channel can offer both in the short and long-term too.”