Leveraging multiple marketing channels is often a key to success for businesses. Are you among the 52% of marketers integrating three or more channels in your campaigns?

The Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) most recent annual response rate report, which serves as a benchmarking tool for marketers, shows that the number of marketers relying on a single channel continues to drop, from 35% in 2015 to 27% in 2016. The report is based on an online survey and delivers data on performance across multiple marketing channels: email, direct mail, paid search, internet display ads, social media ads and mobile marketing.

We know time (and your budget) is precious so we’ve summarized the highlights for you in this article. To purchase the full report from the DMA, click here.

1.     Email – Highest ROI

Email ROI continues to outdistance all other media – both in terms of median ROI and usage. Its cost per acquisition is lowest of all media types, with more than half of the study’s participants saying they plan to increase their usage of email in the next 12 months. However, email sent to prospect lists (typically lists unfamiliar with the sender) had the lowest reported response rate. The heaviest use of email is in B-to-B campaigns, with the highest response rate standing at 24%. Key learning: More targeted lists get a better response.

2.     Direct Mail – Online Tracking a Must

Direct mail is not dead. Far from it. For several industries, direct mail campaigns equal or exceed 50% of their marketing investment: Financial Services (banks or credit unions) (71%); Consumer Packaged Goods (63%); Retail (55%), Travel or Hospitality (55%) and Publishing or Media (54%). The oversized format produced the best response rate for house mailing lists (7.6%) while the dimensional format did so for prospect mailing lists (5.3%). Response rates for both house lists and prospect lists increased from 2015. Of those respondents who track direct mail response rates, 55% are using some sort of online tracking capability. Key learning: Given the significant investment in mail, tracking delivery is a no-brainer.

3.     Paid Search – Branded Keywords Achieve Highest Click Rate

The average usage of paid search across industries is 29% of budget, with the strongest usage among Hospitality (46%), Healthcare or Pharmaceuticals (38%) and Technology (37%). More than two-thirds of respondents use both branded (terms using the specific company name or products) and generic keywords, with branded keywords for lead generation achieving the highest click rate in this year’s study, at 10%. Key learning: It’s still advisable for most to mix branded and generic keywords for highest results.

4.     Internet Display Ads – Lowest Click Rate

Digital marketing is most often comprised of SEO, content marketing, social media, email and online ads (text-based and display ads). While display ads had strong use among three industries (Travel/Hospitality, Retail and Healthcare or Pharmaceuticals), they also had the lowest click rate of all digital media types in the survey. The overall conversion rate was also one of the lowest among digital media types, at 5.7% – on par with email. Almost half of respondents who utilize online display ads are finding success using retargeting paired with the display ads. Key learning: Be sure your digital strategy includes more than just display ads.

5.     Social Media Ads – Best for Brand Awareness

In only the second year of social media’s inclusion in the response rate survey, it had the best conversion rate of all digital media types at 7.9%. Compared to all digital media in the study, social media ranks highest in usage for driving brand awareness (51%). Behind mobile, social media is showing the greatest projected increase in usage (64%) over the next 12 months. Key learning:  Social is now easier to target and will only continue to grow in popularity.

Across the board for all digital advertising, mobile usage continued to increase, with most respondents indicating that the mobile response rate was equal to or higher than desktop.

Stay ahead of your competition by combining a variety of channels, always keeping mobile presentation in mind and making sure you’re tracking everything from online to direct mail.

For more information, fill out the form below and a SourceLink representative will contact you.

First Name

Last Name


Business Phone
Company Name