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The use of online social networking, text messaging and cell phones is diminishing the effectiveness of email marketing, especially among consumers who say promotional messages inspire their purchases, according to a report from JupiterResearch.

More than one-fifth (22%) of email users said they use social networking sites instead of email, with higher numbers indicating they have used instant messaging (IM), text messaging, and cell phones instead of email, Jupiter said.

In 2007, 51% of email users said email inspired at least one online purchase, and 47% said the same for offline purchases. In 2008, this share of email users fell to 44% for online purchases and 41% for offline purchases.

“Consumers’ confidence in email has become shaken by irrelevant communications and high message frequency, which are top drivers of subscribers’ churn and channel skepticism,” said David Daniels, VP, research director and lead analyst of the report for JupiterResearch. “People receive such a high volume of email that they are unable to pay attention to every message. It is so important for marketers to be relevant and succinct when they send messages to consumers’ inboxes.”

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