Smartphones drive increased e-mail usage

Discussion
Oct 17, 2016

MarketingCharts staff

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from MarketingCharts, a Watershed Publishing publication providing up-to-to-minute data and research to marketers.

While there’s been some talk of the death of e-mail — and e-mail marketing — with the rise of the mobile consumer, smartphones are only increasing its use, according to a new survey from Adobe.

The survey of over 1,000 white-collar Americans reported respondents being more likely to regularly check e-mail on a smartphone (84 percent) than on a desktop or laptop (72 percent). Moreover, smartphones have almost caught up to computers as the primary device used to check work e-mail (45 percent and 49 percent, respectively) and have far overtaken computers for personal e-mail (63 percent vs. 29 percent).

Overall, time spent with e-mail was found to be up 17 percent year-over-year, with Millennials (shock!) spending the most time with e-mail. Indeed, almost half of Millennials (18-34) said that they check their e-mail while still in bed in the morning.

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

A recent survey from Fluent also found Millennials (18-34) were more likely than their older counterparts to say that promotional emails impact their purchase decisions most or all of the time.

As with any other marketing medium, many aspects around e-mail marketing aren’t loved:

  • By far the most annoying aspect about receiving e-mail offers was too frequent messaging (47 percent), trailed distantly by poorly written e-mails (25 percent);
  • While personalization seems to boost engagement, respondents were more likely to be more annoyed by too much personalization (16 percent) than by the lack of personalization (nine percent);
  • Relevancy remains weak. Respondents felt less than 25 percent of e-mails are interesting enough to open.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How should marketers adapt their e-mail marketing to the increased readership via smartphones? Will greater personalization enhance e-mail’s effectiveness as a marketing tool?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"I think email marketing is on the rise despite the misguided stories about its demise."
"Call me old fashioned but it’s reminiscent of how over the years we’ve described effective print advertising that is successful."
"When the retailer and its Big Data-predictive (guessing) technology vendors send up to six emails with only minor variations..."

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7 Comments on "Smartphones drive increased e-mail usage"


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Max Goldberg
Guest

Marketers need to adapt all of their digital communication for a small screen. This includes optimizing websites and email. Email messages should be short, to-the-point and easy to view. Some personalization can be valuable, but too much seems like Big Brother.

Adrian Weidmann
BrainTrust

Email has long been the killer app for the Internet. A meaningful and personalized dialog with your shoppers will always trump (is there another word I can use — please!) marketing gimmicks and coupons.

Any program where you can develop and maintain a true conversation with your shoppers and customers is invaluable. Email is still a very effective and cost-effective communication vehicle. I suspect a hybrid between email and text messaging will win the day.

Joan Treistman
BrainTrust

Over time it becomes easy enough to identify the sender of unwanted messages, the subject lines of messages that aren’t worth reading and so on. Marketers need to meet the challenge of messages that are considered worthwhile, subject lines that are compelling and a sender address that doesn’t send up a red flag, “avoid, avoid, avoid.”

Call me old fashioned but it’s reminiscent of how over the years we’ve described effective print advertising that is successful. Print advertising works when it attracts attention, engages its target audience and stimulates action (perhaps purchase).

Headlines and visuals have been the inroads to attention; now subject lines and sender addresses are. Messages that are quick and easy to understand can convey the intended information to a wider audience. Nuanced content that aligns with consumer wants and needs and motivates an action is ultimately the most effective tool.

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

The Adobe survey results regarding email are not surprising. Many people have access to their cell phones far more often than they do to their desktops (if they even own one) or their laptops. Plus, many never turn them off.

This difficulty for marketers is where to draw the line between communicating often enough to be effective versus becoming a pest. As noted in the article another element in this complicated equation is that some personalization is regarding as a good thing, but too much it “creepy.”

Max is definitely right that whatever messages are sent need to be adapted for the small screen.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest

I think email marketing is on the rise despite the misguided stories about its demise. Email marketing has proven to be one of the most effective forms of corporate outreach. A recent report found that the median open rate in the U.S. for email is 17.6 percent, while the average click-through rate for a banner ad is around 0.17 percent. Personalization via the right targeted devices will help in adoption. However, we are finding that Generation Z kids are not yet using email in general. Perhaps that will change as they age, yet whether they eventually will use email is a major question for retailers and CPG brands looking ahead to the long-term viability of it as an advertising tool. It’s an especially critical question since Generation Z could account for 40 percent of consumers by 2020. I think that’s the issue, as much as the devices and better personalization.

Kim Garretson
Guest
5 years 7 months ago

I was surprised by the low number on “too much personalization.” I imagine many respondents may not have attributed that question to the creep-factor of emails with subject lines like: “You looked at it three days ago, now here’s a deal on it.” When the retailer and its Big Data-predictive (guessing) technology vendors send up to six emails like this with only minor variations in “personalized” subject lines, that plays right into the figures for annoyance about getting too many emails.

Brian Numainville
BrainTrust

Email continues to be a very relevant form of communication today. Successful email campaigns, however, require several facets including well-written subject lines that grab attention and formatting for all screen sizes (especially given mobile). Will email remain front and center with the next generation? Hard to say at this point. As new forms of social communication, like Facebook at Work, emerge and connect with younger generations we may find a migration. But just like with print, it isn’t going to happen overnight.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"I think email marketing is on the rise despite the misguided stories about its demise."
"Call me old fashioned but it’s reminiscent of how over the years we’ve described effective print advertising that is successful."
"When the retailer and its Big Data-predictive (guessing) technology vendors send up to six emails with only minor variations..."

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