How effective is direct mail?

Canada Post has released new data that provides insight into the way consumers engage with both traditional ad mail and digital media. We’ve pulled out the highlights to give you an overview—the full reports are also linked below.

The advertiser’s dilemma

When you’ve invested time and money in a direct mail campaign, it can be frustrating not knowing whether people have seen it or whether it’s gone straight into the recycle bin (of course, we have a few strategies to get around that). These new research findings suggest your efforts aren’t in vain.

According to the study, in response to a direct mail:

  • 47% of consumers visited a store
  • 43% ordered a product online
  • 64% visited a website; and
  • 54% engaged on social media

The research also found that:

  • 57% of consumers feel more valued when brands connect with them through mail
  • 66% keep mail they consider useful; and
  • 32% have shared a direct mail ad with someone (compared to only 22% who have shared a social media promotion and 26% who have shared an email ad)

Direct mail vs. digital

The researchers also studied how the brain reacts to direct mail compared to digital advertising. Their findings suggest that direct mail is both easier to understand and more persuasive than digital media.

Here’s a look at the data:

  • It takes 21% less mental effort to process direct mail than digital media; and
  • The brain has a 20% stronger motivation response to direct mail than digital advertising.

But that doesn’t mean you should give up on digital, since the research also found that integrating direct mail and digital resulted in 39% more attention paid, 10% higher recall, and 5% greater emotional response to the campaign.

If you really want to tip the scales in your favour, consider adding sensory elements, like touch and smell, to your next direct mail campaign—the research found that scented envelopes were 94% more engaging than regular postcards.

Direct mail and millennials

It’s a question we hear time and time again: ‘Is direct mail dead to millennials?’ Let’s take look at the findings:

  • 73% of 18-29 year olds regularly read advertising mail
  • Millennials save advertising mail 21% more than the average across all age groups; and
  • 77% of millennials share advertising mail with others

They may love the ease of connecting online, but it looks like millennials haven’t completed eschewed traditional mail after all. If you’re curious to know what other brands are doing to engage millennials, take a look at these successful campaigns from around the globe—including a rather unconventional tactic employed by Denny’s.

What are your thoughts on direct mail? Has it worked for you? Let us know on Twitter @loomonauts.

Full reports:

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