Cognition – even mailchimps can’t write shakespeare

We spent a great deal of time and effort sharing what news and insights we could find on PR and the industry in Asia over the month, and collated these into Cognition – a newsletter which we sent to clients and partners using mailchimp. The results were edifying – it takes a lot to get people to read  news from even a trusted source, imagine how hard it is for unknown callers to reach out to over worked  journalists. Firstly though we looked at just what didn’t get delivered: bounced emails are basically emails that have not been delivered properly.

  • The three types of soft bounces are Temporary Contact Issue, Destination Temporarily Unreachable, and Deferred Message Content.
  • The three types of hard bounces are Bad Email Address, Destination Unreachable, and Rejected Message Content.

Note the”last click” date which was on the 10th October, more than a week after the delivery. It shows that the results have to be monitored over 7 to 10  days to track all the behaviours. For this Newsletter, the GOOD: > High delivery rate of 87% which shows that our address list is healthy. > No spam reports and no complaints > Few unsubscribe (1) The NOT GREAT: > Rather high Unopened rate of 64.2%. Though lower than the industry average, it’s still  under our objectives. The main reason for that is surely the fact that many recipient got the Newsletter filtered and dropped directly into the junk mailbox. Thus they don’t even notice that we’re sent a Newsletter to them. > Disappointing click through rate. Only 3.8% of the recipients clicked on a link.


The “click over time” is an important indicator as it help to schedule a Newsletter. If sent to early in the night, an email will be buried under 10 or 20 others emails sent afterwards. If sent to late, a message won’t be read (no clicks after 11pm). Add the time difference of other countries and you find yourself in a new dilema though…

Clicks over time

The “Click map” tells the number of clicks per link in the newsletter. In this example, it is shown in % of the total number of clicks. We can see that the “digital insights” collects more than 44% of all the clicks.

What readers want

This last snapshot shows where are located the guys who opened the Newsletter. Actually, Mailchimp also gives you the percentage of “clickers” per country but that only appears on a rollover.

Mapping where the visitors come from

Using direct mail to share thoughts and ideas is a key part of a communications strategy, but it is the analysis of the performance and refinement of the content and delivery which will deliver a good return on investment. As we communicate with the media and analysts the same sort of discipline is required: know who we are talking with, what they are interested, why they would want to hear from us and the most appropriate medium. The infinite monkey theorum suggests that monkeys hitting typewriter keys for an infinite amount of time will eventually compose Shakespeare (although a test of this apparently  produced 5 pages of  prose composed mainly of the letter ’s’). Computer programmes will never replace the PR consultant who composes a proper pitch and knows how to reach out to the media, but the software certainly helps us to tell if all the effort of communicating is worthwhile, or if we are simply bananas.

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