The State of Transactional Email Today

Transactional emails and notifications are essential features of modern apps and services. It’s hard to imagine a web app or e-commerce site functioning without them.

As users, we rely on email notifications from SaaS apps and services to help us track our online shopping, keep tabs on workflows, and give us confidence in the security of our accounts. These transactional messages are a fundamental part of the customer experience.

For e-commerce and SaaS providers themselves, these messages serve additional goals. They drive site and app activity and visits, and nurture user relationships. Yet, for all their strategic importance to businesses in the cloud economy, there’s been surprisingly little research into the real-world practices for transactional email.

Well, no longer.

Introducing the Transactional Email Benchmark Report

SparkPost surveyed more than 1,800 SaaS, e-commerce, and other software businesses to assess how they’re using transactional messages and other email notifications. In the inaugural edition of our Transactional Email Benchmark Report, we present benchmarks for the state of transactional email in 2018.

Eight key findings confirm that transactional email is essential to modern apps and services—but many businesses struggle with implementation, governance, and deliverability. Here’s a preview of what we learned from this survey.

Transactional Email Is Vital, But Challenges Remain

First the good news: the data confirms that transactional email is vital to core business goals. For example, overwhelming majorities of senders see transactional email as important to customer engagement (82%), retention (80%), and conversion (72%).

Transactional Email Benchmark for User Engagement
Most businesses see the impact of transactional email on user engagement.

Given this strategic value, it’s somewhat surprising that many businesses have left responsibility for transactional emails to tech and ops teams. One illustration of that disconnect: in 42% of businesses (and an even more astonishing 53% of organizations where transactional email is considered very important to the customer lifecycle), someone other than a business owner writes transactional emails.

Transactional Email Benchmark for Copywriting Responsibility
A surprisingly large number of businesses leave responsibility for writing transactional email to tech and ops teams.

This challenge of aligning strategy and execution is reflected in technical practices as well. For example, barely a quarter of senders—27.5%—report using common practices such A/B testing to optimize the performance of their transactional email. And about one-fourth of senders neglect to implement key technologies such as email authentication.

Transactional Email Benchmark for Email Authentication
Too many businesses neglect to implement email authentication and other technical solutions for improving transactional email performance.

These findings are one explanation why 41.0% of senders who consider transactional email to be very important to the customer lifecycle have received complaints about missing or delayed transactional emails. But whatever the cause, that deliverability challenge has a very real impact on the business performance of these messages.

Download the Report

This data-driven benchmark report provides real-world insight to:

  • The types of businesses that use transactional email
  • Transactional email sending patterns
  • Goals and objectives for transactional email
  • Roles and responsibilities for sending transactional email
  • Delivery and other technical challenges these senders face

SparkPost’s experts analyzed the results and deliver five core recommendations that will help every cloud app or service make the most of transactional email.

I’m really excited to share the 2018 edition of the Transactional Email Benchmark Report. Whether you’re charged with email ops in e-commerce or are building notifications into a SaaS product, there’s a lot to learn from its findings.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your perspective about the state of transactional email today.

Brent