Research says an email is for life
23 Nov 2017
The annual snapshot of consumer email habits from the DMA reveals 83% still use their first email address
New research from the DMA has shown that when it comes to email, over 80% of consumers are in a serious, long-term relationship with their original email address. The findings come from the Consumer Email Tracker 2017 report, which suggests not only do we remain faithful to our original email, but that that 99% of us check our email every day, sometimes up to 20 times, and spend hours on it.
Contrary to the glibness with which we conduct most of our modern-day romances — new phone updates and upgrades are commonplace —it seems email is here to stay. The report also shows that consumers are keeping up, with 44% of people indicating they have dedicated email accounts set-up to receive marketing messages. Highlighting how consumers are adjusting their behaviours when it comes to email and that they are using different addresses in distinct ways.
When it comes to marketing emails, almost half (49%) say they need to recognise the brand before even opening the email. More staggering still is that 60% of those asked indicated they don’t think any brands do email well. Begging the question, what do customers want from marketing emails?
Across the board, consumers tend to agree that a variety of needs are still best served by email. For example, order confirmations (83%), delivery updates (82%) and receipts (78%) are what consumers felt email does best. When it comes to naming brands who do email well, many cite those with a large online presence and often from the retail sector. The top brand, Amazon, is notable both for the volume of emails it sends to its customers and its use of email – simply doing the basics well.
In terms of content, consumers cite tactical content, such as discounts and competitions, as their favourites. Nearly two thirds favour discounts (63%) and half prefer rewards (51%), free gifts (48%) and free delivery (46%). Consumers unsurprisingly have a strong preference for saving money and giveaways.
Consumers are also more likely to read concise emails. Rachel Aldighieri, MD at the DMA, says brands need to focus on crafting each email carefully, without resorting to gimmicks: “Engagement is driven by relevant, short and actionable emails. Our hero principle at the DMA is to put the customer first and we can do this by applying these research findings in a practical way. We know, for instance, consumers are engaging well with simple emails composed of well-written text and images. The power of the craft of copywriting should not be underestimated.”
Marcus Gearey, Chair of the Email Research Hub and Analytics Manager at Zeta Global, agrees: “Offer short copy. Write interesting subject lines. Don’t pack the email with content. Have a concise message, with clear calls to action. It’s more important than ever to listen to what a consumer wants. Personalisation and content relevance remain an absolute must for consumers.”
Notably, the research showed an increase across the board when it came to data privacy issues. When asked how businesses should handle personal data, tailoring method of communication came out on top (37%), highlighting the importance of having an accessible preference centre for marketing communications. Trust in the organisation (37%) and clear privacy policies (37%) both rated higher since last years’ report.
The responsible use of marketing is also a major consideration for fellow member of the Email Research Hub, and Founder and Strategy Director of Let’sTalk Stategy, Jenna Tiffany, who says there are still a large number of consumers wondering how a brand got their email address: “With GDPR looming, data privacy should be top of every marketers’ to-do list. It’s vital to ensure the consent of your subscribers, and to include details of where they subscribed in your email content.”
Skip Fidura, Client Services Director at dotmailer and Chair of the DMA’s Responsible Marketing Committee, understands the complexity of the current market for email marketers but also glimpses the potential for an improved, and more transparent consumer-marketer relationship: “We have been talking about being open, honest and transparent with the people on our list as best practice for years. Clearly defining what data you’re collecting, how you plan to use it, how you will store it and how long you are going to keep it is no longer best practice, it is the law.”