USPS OIG: Advertising Mail: Mail Mix Matters

April 15, 2019 (RARC-WP-19-003)

   * At $20 billion in FY 2017, advertising mail is a significant source of revenue for the Postal Service.

   * Variation in the mail mix enhances the likelihood that a household will respond positively to an advertising mail piece.

What factors influence the “three Rs” — reading, reaction, and response — of advertising mail effectiveness? The OIG found that effectiveness is partly determined by what else is in the mailbox. In other words, the presence of non-advertising mailpieces, such as First-Class Mail and Periodicals, increases the probability that recipients will read advertising mail and then favorably react and respond to it. The findings suggest that the Postal Service’s ongoing efforts to maintain other mail, especially First-Class Transactions mail, benefits the Postal Service not only directly, but also indirectly through increasing the effectiveness of advertising mail, which could spur advertisers to use it more often.

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