Avatars in Emails Increase Response Rate up to 20% for Rypple

After Rypple added avatars to emails, response rate improved between 15 and 20%.

Just wanted to share a stat gleaned from a client, Rypple. Rypple makes a innovative enterprise service based on personal feedback. The core of the service is an idea taken from highly productive people: they tend to constantly ask for and make changes based on feedback they receive from peers.

Rypple Logo hosted brilliantly by Flickr

For some folks, however, getting and giving feedback is not part of their normal routine. (even though it should be) Therefore, instilling a sense of trust around the service is crucial, even for users who might already work together. So when someone gets a request email from a Rypple user asking for personal feedback, they aren’t always sure if the email is legit or if it’s some sort of SPAM.

In working through this design problem, the folks at Rypple have found that avatars are very helpful in gaining initial trust with a feedback request. After Rypple added avatars to emails, response rate improved between 15 and 20%. Just like that. The simple addition of a picture increases interest/trust a significant amount.

That’s some food for thought…there aren’t many ways to increase response rates that much that easily…this also adds another data point to the importance of avatars in social design.

Also, another recommendation: always include names next to avatars. In case avatars aren’t clear pictures of the person in question, the receiver might not have any idea of who it is. Use avatars, but don’t trust them to be instantly recognizable…

Published: June 3rd, 2009

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