As Spam Grows, So Do E-Mail Marketing Opportunities

  |  October 20, 2004   |  Comments

Despite increasing spam volume, e-mail use continues to grow -- with positive benefits for marketers.

According to DoubleClick's 2004 Consumer email study, 81 percent of consumers send and receive email multiple times daily. The number of what the study terms "constant emailers" jumped from 20 percent in 2003 to 33 percent this year. All that activity translates into a 16 percent increase over last year in the number of emails the average consumer receives; 308 e-messages per week.

Increased activity also means more spam for users to contend with. Spam makes up the majority of email volume (62 percent), up 6 percentage points from last year.

The line between a consumer considering a message to be spam and something more legitimate extends across a range of situations. E-mail was considered spam when it came from an unknown sender (93 percent), but also from known companies where permission was given, but email comes too frequently (58 percent). Brand value is also a factor. The survey notes the 'from' line is again the leading reason (64 percent in 2004, 63 percent in 2003) why a consumer may or may not open a permission based email (PBE). Real PBE only represents 8 percent of email, and 67 percent of consumers indicate they open at least 60 percent of such messages.

What most compels you to open
a permission-based email?
Year From Line Subject Line
2002 60% 35%
2003 63% 32%
2004 64% 33%
Source: DoubleClick 2004 Consumer Email Study

PBEs can and do work to help companies make sales. A third (32 percent)of respondents indicate they have made an immediate online purchase as the result of receiving an email. Consumers who said they have clicked on messages for information and later made an online purchase as a result tallied at 30 percent. E-mail also helps drive offline sales; 12 percent indicate they clicked on a message for information, then made the purchase offline. Delivering coupons via email also helps drive consumers to purchase offline (59 percent), while 73 percent redeemed online coupons for online purchases.

Which of the following would you find usefull
if included in the communications you received?
Special offers for related products from the same vendor 25%
Information about membership rewards programs 47%
Sweepstakes or drawing entries 41%
Special offers for the same product you purchased 41%
Special offers for related products from partners companies 26%
None of the above 20%
Source: DoubleClick 2004 Consumer Email Study

Consumers expect email to confirm transactions (95 percent) and shipping (90 percent). Promoting ancillary offers via email is a reasonable proposition. Fifty-two percent note they'd be interested in offers for related products, and 47 percent express interest in receiving information about membership reward programs.

"For marketers, what I think is most significant, is consumer's embrace of email as a service and support vehicle, and their openness to marketing messages within these service, support and transactional emails" said Eric Kirby, VP and General Manager of DoubleClick's Strategic Consulting Services in a statement.

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