Email users in the US more comfortable with marketers:study

MUMBAI: DoubleClick Email Solutions in the US has released the results of its sixth annual Consumer Email Study. This reveals that while consumers have become increasingly reliant on the channel, they have also become increasingly sophisticated in their use of email and are more comfortable with marketers leveraging data to make communications more relevant. It also shows a merging of personal and professional email usage, and a declining concern with regards to spam.

As email has become an integral part of the consumer lifestyle, the 2005 data show a merging of professional and personal email usage. According to the data, 57 per cent of respondents view their work email at work during the day at least occasionally, while almost as many view work emails from home in the evening (55 per cent) and on weekends (54 per cent). In addition, 48 per cent of respondents check their personal emails at least occasionally at work during the day, with 21 per cent doing so all the time.



This data shows a constant usage of email and, for marketers, it calls into question the notion of a 'best' time of day or day of week for deploying email campaigns. It also highlights the importance of effective preference management and data capture to ensure consistent and relevant communication with customers.

Almost half of all respondents report owning at least three email accounts. While 95 per cent consider one of their addresses to be their primary account, almost three quarters of respondents (72 per cent) use a single address for making online purchases. The average consumer has maintained the same email address for four to six years, while two-thirds of respondents have never changed their email address.

Those that did change their address did so most often due to changes in employment or ISP, especially when upgrading to broadband. Of particular interest is the value that consumers place on free email addresses, which have been maintained for an average of six years, probably due to their accessibility from home, work or the road.



Measuring Beyond Opens and Clicks: Email continues to drive commerce both online and in stores. While 78 per cent of respondents have made a purchase as a result of an email, 59 per cent of respondents have redeemed an email coupon in a store and almost one third of respondents have clicked on an email and made an immediate purchase. Another third of consumers reported clicking on emails for information and returning later to make purchases.

For marketers, it is particularly important to factor this latter activity into their ROI analysis for their email marketing programmes. It is also important for marketers to track the branding impact of their

email program. 74 per cent of respondents point to "a brand I know and trust" as the element most likely to drive a response to an email.

DoubleClick Email Solutions has commissioned a study which will be released in early 2006, to examine this impact of email on the marketer's brand. DoubleClick Email Solutions GM Eric Kirby says, "This year's study shows that email is firmly entrenched as a critical communications tool for the majority of consumers. For marketers, this presents

enormous opportunities, while at the same time requiring a significant degree of sophistication to communicate and interact with consumers on their terms in a mutually beneficial manner. If the marketer can balance these factors, the opportunities for effective email marketing are boundless."



Changing Attitude Towards Spam: While spam still constitutes the largest portion of email that consumers receive the overall percentage has dropped every year since 2002 (from 45.5 per cent in 2002 to 30.3 per cent in 2005), and while spam is still an issue that concerns a large number of consumers (55 per cent are very concerned), viruses (75 per cent), identity theft (67 per cent), spyware (66 per cent) and scams (61 per cent) are of greater concern to consumers.

Consumers have consistent views of what constitutes spam, most of which match industry definitions, although almost half of respondents also consider permission-based email that comes too frequently or that is no longer relevant as spam. With regards to dealing with spam, almost half of respondents check their bulk mail frequently, usually to confirm that no wanted messages have been incorrectly filtered into their bulk folder. More than 40 per cent report finding legitimate email in their bulk folders

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