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Forrester: User Attitudes Toward Email Improving

March 10, 2011

Attitudes toward email marketing have improved over the past four years: Consumers delete fewer promotional email messages without reading them and are more likely to forward such messages to others, according to a report by Forrester Research.

Negative behaviors toward email have declined. Specifically, consumers...

  • Delete fewer messages without reading: 59% of consumers say they delete most email messages without reading them, down from the 63% who said so in 2008 and the 73% who said so in 2006.
  • Integrate email promotions and personal email: Just 10% of consumers say they have a separate email account they use just for receiving email advertising, down from the 15% who said so in 2008.
  • Forward promotional email slightly more often: 12% of consumers say they sometimes forward promotional email to others, up from the 10% who said so in 2008, and 9% who said so in 2006.
  • Are nearly as apt to buy: The percentage of consumers who often buy things advertised via email has hovered at roughly 5% for the past four years. In 2006, 5% of consumers said they often buy things advertised via email. That level rose slightly to 6% in 2008 and dropped to 4% in 2010.

Consumers tend to fluctuate about email's value for product information. In 2006, 22% of consumers said email offers are a great way to find out about products and promotions. That level increased to 27% in 2008, but dropped to 17% in 2010.

The decrease is likely a result of a proliferation of alternative product information sources such as blogs, search engines, social networks, ratings and reviews, and communities, according to Forrester.

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About the data: Findings are from the North American Technographics Omnibus Online Survey, Q1 2010 (US), among 5,094 US adults age 18-88 conducted in March 2010; Forrester's North American Technographics Marketing And Mobile Internet Online Survey, Q3 2008, among 5,400 US and Canadian adults age 18-88 conducted in August 2008; and Forrester's North American Consumer Technology Adoption Study (NACTAS) Q3 2006 Media & Marketing Online Survey, among 5,197 US and Canadian adults. Forrester weighted the data by country, age, gender, income, broadband adoption, and technology attitude to demographically represent the adult North American population.

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  • by RaleighRedSoxFan Thu Mar 10, 2011 via web

    Are attitudes improving - OR - are email marketers getting smarter, sending more relavent & targeted emails?

    I think both forces are at play.

  • by enrique Thu Mar 10, 2011 via web

    I think people don't feel as overwhelmed by email as in the past (49% vs 77% receive too many email offers and promotions) largely in part to the improvements by ISPs to filter out spam.

  • by Dhana@Loyaltics Thu Mar 10, 2011 via web

    Too many companies rely on email blasting which neither helps the company nor the consumer. Targeted messaging is the key !.

  • by M.Jaradat Sun Mar 13, 2011 via web

    In addition to advertisers becoming more educated in this domain, users has also become more educated toward their privacy, they now know when and where it is right or wrong to provide their email addresses, unlike earlier days where a user would submit his email to almost every website he/she visits.

    This has resulted in less junk in the inbox, and a user is now relieved and can accommodate some commercials to their inbox.

  • by Mark | Clever PR Tue Mar 15, 2011 via web

    This is great to hear. I agree RaleighRedSoxFan though. I think email marketers are definitely getting smarter. That's not a bad thing though. Actually providing content that we want to read is great!

    I have written a post over at my blog 'How to write e-newsletter that get read' hopefully your readers here will find it useful:

  • by Georgia Christian Fri Mar 18, 2011 via web

    Nice read. I think what's finally happening is that email marketers are starting to LISTEN to their customers and subscribers and finding out what they want so that emails are more targeted and relevant. Motivating stats, let's see what those percentages are next year.

  • by tinagleisner Wed May 11, 2011 via web

    Glad to see that the number of people with multiple email accounts is small as other webinars have suggested otherwise. With some recent email address analysis, your 10% number feels right.

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