Despite claims that personal email is slowly dying due to texting and social media, usage increased by 17% since last year, according to new research by Adobe, CMO.com’s parent company.
For its fourth annual “Consumer Email Survey,” in June Adobe conducted an online survey of more than 1,000 office workers who own a smartphone.
“The intent of the survey is to get a pulse on how consumers feel when they receive marketing messages via email and how they interact in general with email and other channels,” explained Kristin Naragon, director of product marketing, Adobe Campaign. “The key finding is that brand engagement on email must take place on the consumer’s terms.”
According to the study, office workers spend 2.5 hours per day with their personal email, most of which takes place in the morning before they get to the office. “Marketers need to be thinking about the engagement opportunities in that context,” Naragon advised. “How can you catch people during that morning routine when they are perusing their inbox?”
A whopping 90% of consumers said they check their personal email during working hours, with 9% who said they do so constantly. In addition, 85% said they check their personal email before getting to work, and more than a quarter do so from bed as soon as they wake up.
When asked about how they prefer to receive an offer from a brand, 50% of respondents cited email the most. Surprisingly, the second most-preferred channel (20%) was direct mail. In a third-place tie, at 7%, were phone calls, text/SMS, social media, and the brand’s mobile app. Chatbots rounded out the bottom, at 3%, which, while a small number, is up 200% from last year. Also of note, smartwatches saw an 86% increase year-over-year as a device used to check email.
“Granted, offers are only one type of communication that brands deliver over email, but it’s absolutely an important one,” Naragon said. “And in order for email communications to land well with consumers, brands need to get personalization right.”
Consumers expressed they become most frustrated when brands recommend products that do not match their interests (33%), as well as by offers that have expired (22%) or misspell their names (17%).
“Our email address is a critical personal identification; brands need to respect that and personalize with care,” Naragon warned. “Don’t send me a discount for the dress I just purchased the day before.”
She added that with all of the new regulations and acute awareness of consumer data privacy, now is the time for brands to invest in their email and cross-channel marketing teams and the technologies that will make them successful. Making sure that teams have the resources they need and are structured to effectively take advantage of data and insights is key in mastering email personalization—and, more importantly, creating amazing customer experiences.
“Pundits like to posit that ‘email is dead,’” Naragon said. “Well, it’s not. And it isn’t going anywhere. Marketers need to reinvest in email, taking into account all of the newer technology that consumers now use to access it. And, remember, context is king.”