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By the Numbers: How Direct Mail Outperforms Digital Marketing

By Brandon Beatty September 26, 2019 No Comments

People are constantly exposed to screens in one way or another – whether it’s a desktop, laptop, mobile device or TV. Digital marketers take advantage of this captive audience, along with innovative technologies, to flood inboxes and news feeds with highly personalized advertising.

On the other end of the spectrum is Direct Mail – the only form of advertising that gets delivered to our door once per day.

While many marketers are aware that Direct Mail drives top-line revenue, a common misconception is that Digital advertising -- because of its lower cost and ease of execution -- produces a higher return on investment. This leads to heavier investment, team focus and budget allocation going to Digital versus Direct initiatives.

The numbers tell a different story.

Today, centralized, automated Direct Marketing technologies allow marketers to streamline the Direct Mail planning, execution and reporting processes and drastically increase campaign performance and ROI.

The following is a by-the-numbers case for how Direct Mail outperforms Digital advertising and why marketing leaders should take advantage of the new technology that exists today to upgrade their Direct Mail capabilities.

Direct Mail Is Trusted and Reliable

Consumers – 76% of them in fact – trust Direct Mail more than Digital advertising channels. Overall, consumers engage at a very high level with mail:

  • 98% of consumers bring in their mail the day it is delivered
  • 72% of these consumers bring it in as soon as possible
  • 85% sort through and read select pieces

In addition, the USPS reports that 67% of consumers say Direct Mail is more personal than Digital advertisements.

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Direct Mail Has A Longer Shelf Life

While Digital marketers have the advantage of sending messaging and offers at a high frequency, Direct marketers hold the advantage when it comes to the lifecycle of their content.

  • Direct Mail has an average lifespan of 17 days, while email only has a 2-second average lifespan.
  • The shelf life for social media posts/advertising is 5 hours for Facebook, 48 hours for Instagram, 18 minutes for Twitter and 10 seconds for Snapchat
  • Shoppers who receive promotional mailings recall the brand 75% of the time. That is compared to 44% brand recall following the receipt of a digital ad.

Consumer Engagement Is Heavily in Favor of Direct Mail

Constant exposure to email, Digital media and social media has led to consumers reacting negatively to Digital saturation and inbox fatigue.

In turn, consumers overwhelmingly respond and engage with Direct Mail at a higher rate:

  • Direct Mail carries a household response rate of 5.1%. Digital doesn’t compare to Direct in this regard, as response rates are .6% for email and paid search, .2% for online display and .4% for social media.
  • 79% of consumers act on Direct Mail immediately, while only 45% act on email right away.
  • According to the 2017 Adblock Report, 11% of the global internet population is blocking ads on the web, and mobile and desktop adblock usage grew by 108 million and 34 million devices respectively

Direct Mail Generates More Customers at a Lesser Cost

The numbers prove Direct Mail outperforms Digital when it comes to driving action and engagement among existing customers, but Digital advertising is also outmatched when it comes to acquiring new customers.

Studies show Direct Mail is accountable for generating 34% of new customers, while Digital generates 24% -- a 41.66% difference. And the advantage doesn’t stop there as it’s also proven that the cost per acquisition for Direct Mail is $51.40 per order/lead while the cost per acquisition for email is $55.24 per order/lead.

For many, Direct Mail is still a complex and resource-intensive marketing initiative to execute, but it still largely outperforms Digital Marketing efforts, even without the luxury of automation, machine learning and data management.

With advanced direct marketing technology platforms providing innovation to Direct Mail, organizations can deliver more unique in-home customer experiences that will further drive response, engagement and revenue.

To find out how your organization can streamline, simplify and transform Direct Mail operations to further outperform Digital, feel free to check out 5 Steps for Optimizing Direct Mail Testing.

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