Covid boon for mail effectiveness

Darryl Danielli
Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The latest findings from JICMail have reported record-breaking double digit increases in the effectiveness of direct mail and door drops during the Covid crisis.

Across the board effectiveness and life-span increases for DM and door drops
Across the board effectiveness and life-span increases for DM and door drops

According to the Joint Industry Committee for Mail (JICMail), during Q2 the average piece of direct mail was interacted with 4.58 times, an 11% increase year-on-year and a record high since JICMail began tracking mail activity in Q2 2017.

Door drops also garnered record levels of consumer engagement, with the average item interacted with 3.19 times, which represents 15% growth year-on-year.

Business mail, essentially addressed mail that contains some form of bill or statement, also reported higher interaction figures, up 7% to 4.87 times.

The various channels all recorded significant increases in the amount of time they live in the home with all three effectively extending their life-span by a day year-on-year: DM 8.5 days; door drops 6.9 days and business mail 9.6 days.

While JICMail director of data leadership and learning Ian Gibbs said making long-term media predictions were akin to “a monkey throwing a dart” at the moment, he said that “there are clear signs that we have seen a trend towards improving mail sharing and interaction over the last four quarters... so even before the pandemic kicked in.”

“Consumers are frustrated with ad bombardment and poorly targeted comms. This is the opposite of what mail does.”

And, according to MBA Group director Danny Clarke. the report's lockdown findings mirror what the business is hearing from its customers. He said he hoped that statistics like these would have a long-term positive impact on the channels.

“I am a strong believer in data speaks for itself, I believe lockdown has made clients review all areas of their marketing spend and DM and door drops should be a stand out in terms of effectiveness,” he added.

Clarke’s view was mirrored by Mark Davies, managing director of Whistl Doordrop Media.

“Much has been reported about digital acceleration during this period but with a nation at home the latest JICMail data informs us that all mail channels benefited in terms of reach, frequency and longevity in the home," he said. 

“This backs up the compelling results we are seeing from client campaigns that are live at the moment indicating that there is no better time to be planning a mail or door drop campaign.”

The JICMail study, which is captured from a monthly panel of 1,000 households, also highlighted the positive impact that government and health mailings had had on the overall statistics, with, unsurprisingly, interaction with government and healthcare mailings increasing 45% and 11% respectively.

While JICMail began harvesting data in 2017, it officially launched in January 2018 with the goal of providing robust audience data for mail, measuring the readership, reach and frequency of exposure to each item that comes through the letterbox to help advertisers with their media planning.

The latest report’s findings on the effectiveness of DM and door drops mirrors last month’s DMA study on spend, which although it showed a fall in volumes also reported that spend remained resilient.

“Q2 was a period of disruption for all areas of our economy,” notes Clarke.

“So, whilst there was a captive audience for DM and door drops, clients were very much reviewing their marketing plans and messaging during Q2, which is why I believe you saw a reduction in volume during this time.”

However, he said that MBA Group had seen an increase in activity in recent months and he was hopeful that volumes would continue to increase.

“The recent Royal Mail incentives have certainly helped encourage customers to return to mail in some significant volumes, the main sector that is still affected is understandably travel.

“[However,] we have certainly seen some positive signs based on our forward loadings and discussions with clients.”

This was echoed by Gibbs, who urged marketers and planners to utilise the JICMail data when it comes to planning future campaigns.

“JICMail as a whole, and these figures specifically, have been received very well by both the sell-side and buy-side.

“Capitalising on the effectiveness of mail and demonstrating its contribution to multi-channel campaigns is integral going forward if marketers are to make the most of this opportunity.”

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