LONDON: Advertising mail does not have a high industry profile but even in the digital age it remains a major media channel – worth £1.7bn – and one that now has a currency to support media planning.

JICMAIL, launched today by the Joint Industry Committee (JIC) for Mail, provides robust audience data for mail, measuring the readership, reach and frequency of exposure to each item that comes through the letterbox – putting it on a par with other media channels.

These data are captured, in partnership with Kantar TNS, using a diary that follows each piece of mail for four weeks in a nationally representative sample of 1,000 households per quarter across the UK.

This marks a significant shift from the existing environment in which the effect of direct mail is typically measured on ‘after-the-event’ impacts like ROI.

“These new metrics will provide insight at the all-important planning stage, enabling it to go head-to-head with other media when budgets are being allocated,” declared Chris Combemale, Chair of the JICMAIL Board and CEO of the DMA Group.

“Clients are increasingly demanding accountability for every penny they invest,” he added, “and in 2018 planners will finally be able to compare directly between mail and other media channels.”

Six months of research conducted prior to launch revealed that, on average, 51% of all mail is read immediately – whether addressed or door drop – with a further 19% followed up on later.

In addition, each piece that enters the home is revisited 3.8 times on average across either format, while the average reach for a piece of addressed mail is 1.2 and for door drops 1.1.

The research also found that just over one fifth (21%) of all addressed mail and door drop items go on to create commercial actions, for example prompting a purchase, visiting a website or going to a physical store.

Sourced from JICMAIL; additional content by WARC staff