Email Remains Consumers’ Preferred Brand Communication Method. What Could Go Wrong?

October 12, 2016

adobe-most-annoying-aspects-b2c-marketing-emails-oct2016While there’s been some talk of the death of email at the hands of social media, research has shown that B2C email is doing just fine. Now, a new survey from Adobe shows that among white-collar Americans, time spent with email is up 17% year-over-year, with Millennials (shock!) spending the most time with email.

Indeed, almost half of Millennials (18-34) said that they check their email while still in bed in the morning, with this up 36% year-over-year.

Email use may be going up due to an increased reliance on smartphones: respondents reported being more likely to regularly check email on a smartphone (84%) than on a desktop or laptop (72%). Moreover, smartphones have almost caught up to computers as the primary device used to check work email (45% and 49%, respectively), while having already overtaken computers for person email (63% vs. 29%).

As has been demonstrated in separate research released earlier this year, email is easily consumers’ preferred method for receiving offers from marketers, with 49% selecting email as their top choice. That was more than double the proportion who cited direct mail (22%), the next-most popular choice. Mobile apps (9%), social media channels (8%), text message/SMS (7%) and phone calls (6%) all saw increases from last year, but are fractional players relative to email.

Recent research likewise shows that promotional emails are still a force with Millennials.

So what could go wrong? The survey asked respondents what’s most annoying about receiving email offers from marketers. Easily the most common choice was offers that are too frequent (47%), with the next-most annoying issue – poorly written emails (25%) – trailing distantly. Frequency has come up several times in research as being the chief culprit in unsubscribes.

Of note, while personalization seems to boost engagement, respondents were more likely to be annoyed by too much personalization (16%) than by the lack of personalization (9%).

There is some work to be done in making emails more relevant, though: the analysts note that respondents feel that less than 25% of emails are interesting enough to open.

For more data on consumers’ email behavior, see MarketingCharts’ study, Why Consumers Open Brand Emails.

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