The Direct Marketing Association has released its latest DMA Response Rate Report 2015: Performance and Cost Metrics across Direct Media. The report offers helpful insights for marketers comparing response to in-house versus prospect marketing for email campaign response rates, direct mail, and telemarketing. The report offers some insight into the lack of response tracking for social media and mobile, and intentions to expand use of these media in the future.

The DMA sponsored the direct marketing response rates survey , along with Demand Metric Research Corporation, from December 2014 to January 2015 with a total of 612 responses collected, 485 of which provided usable data. The purpose of collecting this data is to track the Response Rates of different marketing avenues from a very extensive sample size. This data will allow marketers to compare their success with results from other companies and determine where to concentrate their efforts next. Below are some highlights from the report.

Direct Marketing Response Rates cover.


Of all the samples in the Direct Marketing Response Rates Survey mobile marketing was the smallest. According to the survey graph showing the amount companies reported using each marketing medium, picture above, only 18% of companies are including mobile in their campaigns. The survey participants reported their primary use of mobile advertising campaigns are to make a direct sale (33%), followed by lead generation (26%) and driving brand awareness (26%). However, about 42% of the survey participants didn’t know the click-through rate for mobile ad campaigns, which made it hard to report on the response rates.


Survey Participants did not have the same trouble reporting on their email campaign response rates, as with mobile. In fact, email retains the top spot in terms of the number of organizations that reported using it at 82% use in promotional campaigns. However, Click through rates were lowest for lead generation emails sent to prospect lists (3-4%) and highest for B-to-B emails sent to house lists (17-18%). Open rates ranged from a low of 7-8% for emails sent to prospect lists to drive traffic. Ironically, emails sent to house lists to drive traffic enjoyed the highest open rate at 23-24%.

Online Display

Slightly over half of companies report that lead generation is their primary purpose for campaigns. Conversion rates were lowest among digital media types, at between 1.1% and 1.5%, which is a 17% decrease from the previous years. The low click-through and conversion rates likely contribute to the highest CPA among digital media types in the study, ranging from $41 to $50.

Paid Search

The use of paid search has gone done almost 10% in use by companies since 2012, according to the report. Two-thirds of the survey participants who use paid search reported using both brand and generic keywords in their paid search campaigns. Conversion rates ranged from 2 to 6%, with an overall rate of 4% for branded and 3% for generic keywords.

Paid search was reported to most frequently be used by survey participants in mixed B-to-B/B-to-C campaigns (30%), followed closely by B-to-C campaigns (29%). Branded keywords in the B-to-C environment enjoyed the highest click-through rate at 5-5.9%, while generic keywords in the B-to-B environment had the lowest click-through rate at 2-2.9%.

Social Media

Social media, which was included for the first time in the Response Rate Survey, had one of the lower click-through rates among digital media types at between 2.1 and 2.5%. However, a good 37% of companies reported not knowing the click-through rates for their social media ad campaigns, so there is a significant amount of unaccounted for data.

Behind mobile, social media shows the greatest projected usage increase of this year, with 64% of survey participants indicating plans to grow social media advertising in the next year. Virtually everyone who uses social media advertising also uses mail, and over half also uses direct mail, online display and paid search.


The primary reported purpose of telephone campaigns is almost equally split between direct sales (41%) and lead generation (37%) The response rate for telephone – between 9 and 10% – is one of the strongest of any media type in this survey, regardless of whether house or prospect lists are in use. Only 4% of survey participants report plans to decrease their tele-marketing in the next 12 months, while 36% report usage will remain steady, and 57% plan to increase their telephone usage.

Direct Mail

Over 41% of survey participants reported using Direct Mail as part of their campaigns, which is the second highest amount of any of the listed marketing types. Over half of the respondents for Direct Mail reported a monthly direct mail volume of 100,000 or less, with the median monthly mail volume falling in the range of 50,000 or less. The survey results showed that the median response rates for house lists are at 3.73%, while the median response for prospect lists is at 1.00%.

We Have All This Data, So What Now?

The data gathered by the DMA Response Rate Report 2015 shows the extent to which customers are responding to different types of marketing efforts. The purpose of gathering all this data is to help marketers plan campaigns that will get best response results for their company. The modern marketer is more likely to use more than one type of advertising, and in fact, just 35% of this study’s respondents claim to use just a single one, and that one is most often email. Gathering and providing this Response Data Report is just another way the DMA is making an effort to advance and protect responsible data-driven marketing.

If you would like to purchase a copy of the full Response Rate Report, you can do so by going to

This post was authored by Elizabeth A. Beasley, Account Manager, Beasley Direct Marketing, Inc.

Elizabeth Beasley serves as an account manager at Beasley Direct and Online Marketing, Inc   Elizabeth manages new client on-boarding and accounts, social media, corporate presentations, corporate website, and database maintenance.  She also serves as an account manager for the Direct Marketing Association of Northern California, managing event logistics, registration and promotion. She holds a B.A. in Strategic Communications from National University.

*DMA Response Rate Report 2015: Performance and Cost Metrics across Direct Media. Direct Marketing Association, 2015. Print.