Whistl joins JICMail

January 2018

Industry comes together to launch JICMail – new media metrics for mail
Mail industry and key trade bodies have teamed up to create the first ever currency for mail to provide a comprehensive understanding of the channel for media planning. Advertising mail is the third largest media channel in the UK according to ad spend, worth an estimated £1.7bn annually, but has remained the only one without a currency to support media planning. Until today, as the Joint Industry Committee (JIC) for Mail is launching the first ever currency for mail based on comprehensive readership research for the channel, called JICMAIL. JICMail provides robust audience data for mail, measuring the readership, reach and frequency of exposure to each item that comes through the letterbox. This data is captured, in partnership with Kantar TNS, using a diary that follows each piece of mail for 4 weeks in a nationally representative sample of 1,000 households per quarter across the UK.

Key insights from the first 6 months of research conducted prior to launch included:

  • 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
  • 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 physicial store

The JICMail Board is made up of representatives from key industry bodies and businesses, including the DMA, IPA, ISBA, Royal Mail and Whistl. This means it represents both the advertisers who use mail and the industry that supplies the channels, similar to currencies and equivalent organisations representing other channels.

What JICMAIL does, for the first time, is normalise mail to bring it in-line with every other major channel. It gives us exactly the same data across these channels, allowing marketers to compare apples to apples when it comes to their media planning. Moving mail from being a special case being dealt with in a silo and put it in the hands of the media planners and buyers.

Mike Colling, Member of the JICMail Board, IPA member and Founder and CEO MC&C

The JICMail Curreny

The new currency will enable both media buyers and sellers to understand the power of mail, with data that is of the same standards as similar metrics for television, radio, outdoor and press. Helping to create a level playing field for all media channels and delivering a clear understanding of their respective value. Following the initial launch of the first six months worth of data, a quarterly report will be issued highlighting the latest insight from the panel data, administered through Kantar TNS, which can be found at www.JICMail.org.uk

Traditionally, direct mail has been measured on ‘after-the-event’ impacts like ROI, but 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. Clients are increasingly demanding accountability for every penny they invest and in 2018 planners will finally be able to compare directly between mail and other media channels. The fact that this is a cross-industry initiative highlights the importance of the JICMAIL research and continued influence of the channel.


Chris Combemale, Chair of the JICMail Board and CEO of the DMA Group,

Specific findings for addressed mail were:

  • Over half of all addressed mail (57%) items are opened immediately by consumers, with a further 21% opting to open in the days after they receive it
  • Almost half (49%) of all addressed mail is read, looked or glanced at immediately, with a further 23% viewed later
  • Average reach for a piece of addressed mail is 1.2, meaning that for every 100 people receiving a mail pack it is shared with another 20
  • The average piece of mail is also revisited over four times (4.2), with government and council communications top (4.8), followed closely by utilities (4.7), medical information (4.6), supermarkets/grocery (4.5) and financial services (4.4) leading the way

While the report found out the following about door drops:

  • 61% of all door drops opened are read, looked or glanced at after their receipt
  • On average, for every 100 items received 10 are passed on and shared
  • The average door drop is shared around 3 times (3.0) within the household, with the leading content types being government and council communications (3.7), supermarkets (3.1), restaurants or takeaways (3.1) and local tradespeople (3.0)

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