Changing email habits and what marketers need to know

Email usage is on the rise, shifting to mobile to create an “always on” email culture. How does email marketing change?

The increased use of smartphones in our daily lives made email communication direct, faster, and omnipresent. According to the “Adobe Email Survey 2016,” people are spending 17% more time on emails year over year, with the increase being even larger in work email. 45% of people use their smartphone to check for their work email, with the percentage rising to 63% for personal email.

email2Moreover, the time spent on work email has increased by 28%, reaching 4.1 hours, while personal email communication has increased by just 6%, reaching 3.3 hours. The combination of the two lead to a total of 7.4 hours per day that people check their email messages. This is an interesting percentage, proving how we are experiencing the shift towards the “always on” email culture.


It’s the mentality of the “always on” culture that creates a sense of urgency for a reply when receiving a new email message, with 16% of people expecting a response in just a few minutes. In fact, their expectations turn into reality, as 14% of people actually end up responding within a few minutes.

It’s becoming less frequent to expect a reply after a day, or even more, which is part of the growing digital communication and our changing habits, both in personal and professional messages.


How marketers can improve email effectiveness

There are many things that marketers need to improve when reaching consumers, but almost half of them (47%) find annoying the frequent branded emails.

This means that marketers need to find the right balance for the promotional messages, both in the number of emails, but also in the timing that they are sent to avoid being annoying (and probably unread).


Moreover, consumers find annoying:

  • long emails
  • poorly written copy
  • irrelevant messages for them
  • wrong sense of urgency
  • bad design
  • over-personalisation
  • lack of visual content

All the answers are interesting, proving that consumers are demanding and brands cannot expect to be noticed with any of the mistakes above.


There are different issues to consider when creating an email for smartphone users and as mobile usage increases, it is becoming crucial to consider what really annoys consumers.

Although there isn’t a dominant trend annoying them in mobile emails, there are many of them in almost equal percentage, which could imply a series of problems marketers need to solve.

The most important ones are:

  • loading time
  • image size
  • lack of mobile optimisation
  • long email
  • small font size
  • lack of video

Most of them appeal to bad design and UX and they may serve as a warning for everyone crafting the next email campaign without considering the mobile audience.

Email as the primary source of branded communication

Consumers may be annoyed by many things when receiving branded mails, but they still prefer them as the main form of hearing from brands. There is even an increase of 9% YoY on their preference, with direct mail being way behind and a brand’s mobile app coming third.

Phone calls seem to be the least preferred method of communication when communicating with brands and the percentage is even reduced since last year, which is a useful reminder for marketers who may still find the idea of direct communication appealing.


Respondents also said that less than 25% of emails are interesting enough to open, indicating that marketers need to up their game. Top consumer issues with marketing emails are frequency, quality of writing, and offers based on incorrect profile data.

How many users open your email?

The open rate of an email campaign tells whether your message reached the recipients, or simply if it was interesting enough for them to open it.

According to Adobe Email Survey 2016, people only open 19% of their work emails and 23% of their personal ones. These are the ones that they consider interesting enough to actually open, which means that there is a great number of emails that stays unread.


The question for marketers is, how can you grab the readers’ attention to make them open your emails and make them more loyal?

Are you guilty of any of the things they find annoying?

An open rate can be improved by seeking for:

  • relevance
  • appealing headline
  • timing
  • appropriate language (there’s no need for jargon)


Email marketing is still effective and it’s encouraging that users prefer it as the method to receive messages from brands, but they are still demanding enough to expect relevant and interesting content.

It’s useful to keep in mind of what they find annoying and create a checklist of all the mistakes you can avoid by listening to your readers’ needs.

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