What Do 73.9% of Email Newsletters Have in Common?

Graph TeaserNearly three quarters of all broadcasts sent from AWeber last month share a common basic characteristic.

It’s not subject line personalization (although many email marketing campaigns do indeed use this).

It’s not that the sender chose to tweet the email newsletter.

It’s not that they were created from blog content using our RSS to email tools.

Nope, it’s even more basic than that. And it might surprise some of you (at least, based on some of your responses to Bob’s recent post on HTML email design examples).

So what is it?

Most Email Newsletters Are Sent In HTML

In August 2009, 73.9% of all broadcast messages sent through AWeber included an HTML version.

For comparison, in August 2008 only 58.9% of broadcasts included an HTML version. In other words, the use of HTML in email newsletters has increased 25.47% in the past year!

Here’s how the percentage has changed over the past four years:

Graph - HTML Email Percentages Since August 2005

Surprised?

I’ll admit that even I was when I saw the stats. A lot of marketers still believe that plain text is the “default” format to go with (just see the comments on Bob’s post), and while I knew that the reality was different (even 3 years ago, over 53% of the broadcasts sent from AWeber included an HTML version), I didn’t expect such a strong majority of broadcasts to include HTML.

Why Has HTML Email Become So Much More Popular?

I’d like to think that at least in part this is due to the increasing number of HTML email templates we’ve released over the past couple of years.

But that certainly isn’t the only reason, and it’s probably not the primary one. If you’re going to use HTML, you’re going to do so because you’ve found it gets better results than text, or you believe it has the potential to do so.

So what potential/results might people see in HTML email?

  • An opportunity to provide an experience that more closely matches the one your customers & prospects have on your website.
  • The ability to deliver product and other images directly in the email body; to link text/images; to display content in multiple columns and take advantage of other HTML formatting.
  • Easier tracking of activity – no need to type out tracking URLs in the body where subscribers can see them; ability to track opens (even if opens are a somewhat imprecise metric, they can help you to compare the relative success of campaigns).
  • You can add a preheader to remind subscribers why they signed up, encourage them to whitelist you and take other actions that can increase response and deliverability.

More on HTML vs. plain text.

Don’t Join The Crowd “Just Because” – But Don’t Avoid HTML “Just Because,” Either

The point here isn’t “hey, 3/4 of broadcasts are in HTML, so obviously yours should be, too.”

It’s this: if you’re sending your emails in plain text only “just because” you always have, or because the people you receive email campaigns from send in plain text, then try HTML – run some tests with it to see how your subscribers respond!

After all, you never know until you try…

More On Email Newsletters and HTML

Your Thoughts?

Were you surprised to find that so many broadcasts are sent in HTML?

Have you been sending yours with an HTML version, or as plain text?

Share your thoughts below!