Email action rates don’t tell full story

Trust is the great intangible in marketing. Achieve trust in your brand and the rewards can be great, lose it and you lose customers and revenues.

Russell Parsons

This in mind, a recent report by Nielsen last made for interesting reading. It starkly demonstrated the important of trust to direct marketers. Coming second only to personal recommendation in a list of ‘most trusted forms of advertising’ was signed up for emails.

Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of those polled indicated they had some degree of trust in emails they had opted-in to receive, almost twice that of the other direct channels, such as social and texts rated.

Even better news, 61 per cent of those surveyed are likely to take some form of action upon receiving an email they have chosen to receive, again almost twice the percentage reported for other direct channels.

This is positive news for all those using email to communicate to customers prospective and existing.

However, email marketers tempted to pat themselves on the back at a job well done should take a moment. ‘Some degree of trust’, although better than no trust at all, is far from an unequivocal endorsement, while ‘likely to take some for of action’ could mean a host of things and does not necessarily mean a ringing endorsement to a colleague or one for the ROI column.

There is still too much opt-in by implicit consent. It is not enough to obtain an email address. While consent of sorts, it hardly classes as engagement. Consent is far too often obtained by what the most critical would describe as surreptitious means.

Consent forms or landing pages should be welcoming affairs. They should honest about what opting in means, the value of choosing to receive information, rather than just words to the effect of ‘would you be OK to receive information from us about future promotions’.

Be clear, transparent and honest and then trust and action reports will be so much more meaningful.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here