Clutter: 4 in 10 Say More Than Half Of Their New Emails Are From Marketers

November 5, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Email | Promotions, Coupons & Co-op

For email marketers, one of the main challenges is cutting through the clutter. Here’s why: according to [pdf] a Blue Kangaroo online survey of more than 1,000 US adults aged 18-64, a whopping 43% said that more than half of the new emails in their inbox the week prior to the survey came from marketers (including daily deals, retail newsletters, and sales alerts). In fact, 8 in 10 respondents said that more than 20% of their new emails came from marketers.

Strikingly, the percentage of respondents (43%) getting more than half of their emails from marketers corresponds almost exactly with the percentage (44%) who feel they are getting somewhat or much too many marketing emails. This suggests that the threshold marketing email volume for consumers is roughly half of their new emails (although this does not account for the actual number of emails an individual might have).

Only 1 in 4 Dislike All the Clutter

Interestingly, the barrage of marketing emails doesn’t appear to have met with frustrated consumers – yet. Only 1 in 4 said they really dislike all the marketing clutter they’re getting. By contrast, a healthy 40% said they enjoy getting lots of marketing emails from favorite brands and deal services in their inbox each week.

Still, that doesn’t mean that consumer acceptance of marketing emails is unwavering. Various pieces of research have shown that over-communication drives consumers away. For example, respondents to a Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB) survey from March were asked why they unsubscribe from an email list: too many emails topped the list of reasons given, cited by 69%.

Subject Lines Can Make A Difference

Further details from Blue Kangaroo’s survey on marketing emails reveals that only 42% of respondents open and read most of the marketing emails that they receive, and 7 in 10 believe that inbox clutter might be at least occasionally causing them to overlook deals they would have liked.

In order to deal with the influx of marketing emails, many are scanning their inbox to see what catches their attention. To cut through the noise, then, marketers need to pay specific attention to subject lines. Indeed, 30% of respondents said they don’t open most of their marketing emails, but they carefully read most of their subject lines, while an additional 18% said they skim some of the subject lines, but not all. That is, subject lines are influential to about half of the email recipients.

The CMB survey (see link above) found similar results. 47% of respondents said that subject lines play an important role in whether or not they open email from businesses and non-profits.

Other Findings:

  • The vast majority (93%) of Blue Kangaroo survey respondents said they had at least a moderate interest in hearing on the internet about deals related to their shopping interests. That includes two-thirds who indicated very high (35%) or high (30%) interest.
  • About 8 in 10 respondents said that the marketing emails they receive go mainly into their primary personal email account, displayed alongside their personal emails. Just 8% have a separate account specifically for receiving marketing emails.
  • 6 in 10 spend half an hour or less per week opening and browsing marketing emails. 1 in 5 spend an hour or more doing so.
  • 48% said that managing all the marketing emails is sometimes worth the effort, but that it’s time-consuming. The second-largest percentage (32%) described the day-to-day management as mostly enjoyable, productive, and easy to do.
  • 7 in 10 respondents said they had made use of a coupon or discount that they had learned about through a marketing email in the prior week (35%) or month (33%).

About the Data: The Blue Kangaroo survey was conducted by Research Now, with WebStar Research, on behalf of ChoozOn Corporation. The online survey was conducted 23-27 August, 2012. The sample size was 1,090 US adults, aged 18-64, with 60% female. The sample was balanced to approximately match the US online audience by age, region, income, and education.


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