5 Points on the State of Email Marketing

November 22, 2021
Litmus Top Email Marketing Personalization Factors Nov2021

Although marketers are investing a large share of their budgets in channels such as social media and digital advertising, email remains a key player in marketing strategies. The latest State of Email Report [download page] from Litmus takes a look at the latest trends in email marketing. Here are five key points from the report.

1. Email is Critical

Despite being around for years, the importance of email marketing has increased in the past couple of years. Back in 2019, only about one-third (32%) of marketing professionals from around the world considered email marketing very critical to their company’s success. That percentage increased to 40% during the pandemic and now stands at 42%. And, although pre-pandemic research shows that some marketers believed that email’s effectiveness was declining, this more recent survey puts email marketing at the top of the list of effective marketing channels — ahead of paid search, organic search and social media.

Perhaps as proof of email’s effectiveness, close to 4 in 10 (37% of) respondents expect their email marketing budget to increase next year, with only about 1% expecting it to decrease. 

2. Brands Are Sending a Variety of Emails

At the start of this year, a survey from Ascend2 revealed that three-quarters of marketers expected to increase the volume of emails sent out. And, while Litmus’ survey shows that 8 in 10 (81% of) brands are currently sending out newsletters, it’s far from the only email communications they are using. The majority are also sending out welcome (79%), product (75%), sales or promotions (72%), event (71%) and onboarding or post-purchase (62%) emails, though fewer are sending customer win-back (45%), subscriber re-engagement (41%) and cart or browse abandonment (35%) emails.

3. Personalization is On the Rise

Email marketers acknowledge the importance and effectiveness of personalized messages in emails. Respondents appear to be upping their game in certain areas of email personalization this year. Some 8 in 10 are personalizing by name, company name or other profiled data, up from 72% in 2020. There is also a measurable increase in those personalizing by customer segment, with 64% doing so this year, compared to 49% in 2020. A full 40% are also personalizing by location or geolocation (up from 31% in 2020).

This personalization and segmentation means that marketers need to create various versions of the emails they send out. Indeed, about two-thirds (65%) of respondents create at least two versions of an email on average. However, when it comes to testing these emails, more than half (55%) report rarely or never A/B testing, with only 4% saying they always test. 

4. Three in 4 Use Automation

More than three-quarters (79%) of marketing professionals report using automation in their email marketing, with most of those using automation for triggered emails (82%), drip or nurture campaigns (67%), segmentation (56%) and A/B testing (45%). The most popular email types being automated include welcome, onboarding or post-purchase and subscriber re-engagement.

At present, few respondents are using AI for email marketing. Of those who do use AI, the most common use is for send time optimization/personalization, while fewer use it for segmentation and subscriber targeting or individualized product recommendations or content suggestions.

5. Apple Mail Privacy Measures Are Having An Impact

Lastly, although marketers are grappling with the prospect of a cookie-less world, respondents believe that Apple Mail’s Privacy Protection (MPP) is more likely to affect their email program than the loss of third-party cookies. Many marketers believe MPP will change how emails are measured. However, about one-quarter (24%) say they are not making any changes to their email marketing programs due to MPP.

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of almost 400 marketing professionals around the world.


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