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Direct mail sees record interactions during lockdown

Direct mail sees record interactions during lockdown

Lockdown Britain was more responsive to direct mail (DM) campaigns than at any point in the three years since JICMAIL began tracking activity, according to the latest findings from the independent organisation for the mail channel.

The average piece of direct mail was interacted with 4.58 times in Q2 2020. Door drops also saw record levels of consumer engagement, with the average piece interacted with 3.19 times, equating to a 15% growth year-on-year.

As crucial covid-related messages were delivered by the government and the NHS, the importance of mail in keeping consumers informed during the pandemic saw direct mail and door drops rack-up record life spans, with the average DM piece ‘live in the home’ for 8.5 days on average, and door drops 6.9 days.

Government door drop levels of interaction increased 45% year on year to 4.21; while lifespan increased a staggering 68% to 9.5 days – even topping the government’s own direct mail average of 8.5 days.

This effectively means that, with 27.8 million households mailed by the Prime Minister in April, over 117 million ad impressions were generated over a critical month in the crisis, pointing towards the strength of the mail channel in driving home trusted advertiser messages in UK households.

In a time of heightened health sensitivity, addressed mail meanwhile saw the largest metric improvements in the medical sector, which includes medical, NHS, Private Medical, Dental, Optician and Pharmacy, with frequency of interaction increasing by 11% to 5.02.

Crucially, respondents were also more likely to pass health-related DM on to other household members, with item reach increasing 9% to 1.23.

“This effectively means that the one million pieces of direct mail sent by the NHS to vulnerable people at the height of the pandemic, will in fact have reached 1.23 million people and generated over five million impacts,” a JICMAIL spokesman said. “It will also have triggered very high levels of discussion in the household, demonstrating the often undervalued reach and interactions delivered by the mail channel.”

Beyond the government and health categories, interaction rates with mail increased across almost all categories during Q2 2020.

Telco DM average frequency increased by +21% as households turned to more entertainment; travel and tourism DM increased by +23% reflecting the disruption to holiday plans, and utility providers saw a +14% rise in frequency.

NickHames, Director, The Production Hub, on 29 Aug 2020
“For the charity sector, a traditionally strong user of mail media, these stats are very encouraging, particulaly given the funding gap caused by the global pandemic. Whistl research recently revealled that the number of charity mailings sent in Qs 1 and 2 had surpassed the number sent the same time last year and that results are incredibly positive - one charity reported an increase in donations of close to £40,000 in the week following a campaign - and now that Royal Mail is offering incentives on both DM and door drops we expect this trend to continue. The key to effectiveness, however, will be in ensuring relevance and adhering to best practice targeting.”
PatrickLymath, Product Director, Mortascreen, on 29 Aug 2020
“Whilst these figures are incredibly encouraging what must be remembered is that the success of the channel goes hand in glove with relevance. It is critical that organisations exercise restraint and use mail media only to communicate with customers and prospects that would be genuinely interested in the offer or message. As soon as relevance is disregarded DM and doordrops become labelled as junk and their effectiveness and plummets. For the continued positive perception of the channel by consumers targeting and data hygiene are critical moving forward as the UK continues to relax lockdown measures.”
NealDodd, Director, The Letterbox Consultancy, on 18 Aug 2020
“Interesting stats and they reflect what we have seen as a business over the past five months - improved response and recall to door drop items, most likely a reflection of more people being home, more of the time.

As people's working habits change and with travel still restricted for many, we expect to see this continue for the rest of 2020 at least.

Worth noting that the government did not mail 27.8 million households with their COVID-19 letter, as the article states, and the channel used was actually door drop.

Both DM and door drop have their pros and cons of course, but with the objective to reach as many people across the UK as efficiently as possible, door drop is the stand out option.

It's no surprise that the government turned to door drop for this and we have been working with many local and regional authorities to do exactly the same - with digital channels unable to offer the same level of reach and DM coming in too expensive on that scale.”

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