USPS OIG reveals the importance of advertising mail

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The United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General (USPS OIG) has released its latest white paper – Advertising Mail: Mail Mix Matters – which outlines the importance of the mail mix in the effectiveness of advertising mail.

According to the report, advertising mail accounted for US$20bn in FY 2017, representing 29% of the total postal service revenue and 58% of total mail volumes. Owing to the importance of advertising mail to the postal service, USPS OIG decided to analyze the factors that enhance its effectiveness.

The white paper revealed that the mail mix matters – when there is a higher non-advertising share of mail, including first class mail and periodicals, a household is more likely to read, react and respond to the advertising mail they receive.

Within first class mail, USPS OIG found that transactions mail such as bills and statements was a more important driver of household reading, reaction and response to advertising mail than correspondence mail such as personal letters.

The study also found that older people are more receptive to advertising mail than younger recipients, and those with a college degree are less likely to read, react and respond to the mail than those with a high school degree.

Coupons were found to significantly increase the reading, reaction and response rate, as was a past business relationship between the mailer and the household. Flats were also more likely to be read and responded to than letters.

The report also revealed how the declining volumes of first class and periodicals could impact advertising mail volumes and therefore the postal service’s revenues: “With continued declines in first class correspondence and transactions mail and Periodicals Mail, the postal service not only risks a loss of revenue from these types of communications, but also risks a loss of revenue if advertising mail becomes less effective. As such, what this analysis shows is that the postal service’s ongoing efforts to maintain other mail, especially first class transactions mail, benefits the postal service in two ways. The first is through the revenue from the mail itself. The second is through the benefit of increasing the effectiveness of advertising mail. In other words, the benefit of what is in the mailbox is greater than the value of its independent parts.”

Read the full report here.

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With over a decade of experience as a business and technology journalist working in B2B publishing, Hazel first joined UKi in 2011. After taking 18 months off to bring up her daughter and try her hand at marketing copywriting, she returned in January 2018 to do what she loves best – magazine editing! She is now the editor of UKi's Passenger Terminal World and Parcel and Postal Technology International magazines.

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