In the midst of all the aggressive advertising, overabundance of content, and the bold claim that “social media is king”, there stands email marketing — still a powerful and efficient tool to engage with potential customers.
In theory, email may seem like an underdog compared to other “new school” marketing channels, but the actual data is telling a different story. So if you’re the CMO of the company and you think your team is better off ditching email, here’s a list of email statistics that we put together proving that email marketing is still very much worth your time.
1. Email outnumbers social media in usage (by a mile)
As of this year, 4.03 billion people are using email, and that will grow to 4.48 billion in three years. That’s more than half of the entire world’s population.
Even if you combined Facebook’s 2 billion active users with Instagram’s 1 billion, it still wouldn’t come close to the potential reach of email. Yes, we spend more time on social media than reading emails, but 99% of active email users check their email on a daily basis (some check it as many as 20 times a day).
2. B2B loves email
Professionals in the B2B sales and marketing sphere have always been enamoured by the power of email in their efforts to generate and convert leads, basically by sending content to subscribers to educate them about their products and services.
In fact, 40% of B2B marketers believe that email marketing is critical to their success. Meanwhile, 59% of them cite email as their best channel for revenue generation, and a whopping 79% consider email to be their most prolific channel overall.
On the other side of the equation, recipients of B2B emails tend to open and read them because they’re considered a reliable source of information. That’s why B2B businesses allocate a significant chunk of energy and increased expenditure to email marketing.
3. Personalization works like a charm
Data has proven that people love getting messages that are customized to their needs and interests. It’s quite a normal response to hate being bombarded with content that has nothing to do with you, and that’s why email personalization is crucial in any email marketing strategy.
In a study by Evergage, 77% of marketers are making sure the content they send to their subscribers is personalized. The most obvious examples are when we receive emails from Netflix based on shows or movies we’ve watched or when we get promotional emails based on our recent purchases. Self-showing rental properties and insurance firms even use automation to create personalized messages and nurturing workflows for their prospects.
But email personalization goes beyond consumer activity. Marketers can spice up emails by playing around with subject lines; for instance, an Experian study has found that 56% of brands that use emojis in their email subject lines had a higher open rate. The more personalized the subject line is, the greater the likelihood of the email being opened, with 33% of recipients saying that they open emails solely because of that reason.
And the nu Marketing Group, “Your content is potentially the most valuable marketing tool you have at your disposal.”
Given the importance of content to any business, it’s important to know how to utilize it effectively. It’s no secret that email is a go-to content distribution method for most marketing teams. Content Marketing Institute estimates that as many as 87% of B2B marketers use email marketing to circulate their content, just behind social media and the company blog page. 79% of B2C content marketing experts also rely on email to spread their new articles and updates.
And that’s just organic content distribution. A percentage of marketers (32%) are now also spending a portion of their budget on promoting their content (such as ebooks and even webinar invites) to their partners’ email databases through paid collaborations. They also spend on email marketing software to assist with content distribution and analytics or partner with a social media marketing agency with all the tools and expertise to strategically promote content and drive traffic to their websites.
Marketers also consider email performance as the best metric to measure whether or not their content is effective. 90% say they look at email KPIs such as open rates, click rates, and downloads to evaluate how successful a piece of content is. They rely on those numbers more so than, say, social media numbers or website traffic, to decide whether or not they need to make changes to their content.
That, coupled with a solid SEO strategy, can catapult any content piece to prominence. If your business is an NFT marketplace app like Spores or a fitness community app like Strava, you would need to produce content to introduce your platform and encourage people to join, and a content-driven email campaign is one of the best ways to do that.
4. Email and mobile: a perfect combination when done right
The mobile revolution made it tremendously easier for us to check our inboxes on the go via mobile devices, which accounted for 62% of all read emails in 2019 (81% prefer to open emails on their smartphones while 21% open emails on their tablets).
So what does this mean for marketers? It’s plain and simple: making sure emails are optimized for mobile is crucial since that’s how most people check their inboxes.
To show just how crucial it is, a study by Adestra has found that 72% of mobile users will delete an email that’s not mobile optimized. That’s right — 72%. It doesn’t matter if your content is earth-shattering; recipients are likely to delete it (in under 3 seconds in more than 70% of cases!) if your email looks weird on mobile.
And it gets worse: 2 out of 10 recipients will even go so far as to unsubscribe after receiving a badly formatted email, while 3 out of 10 will mark it as spam. Yikes.
To avoid this horror, marketers turn to good ol’ responsive CSS-driven templates and sometimes even resort to simple, no-fancy-stuff text-based messages that resemble personal emails.
Meanwhile, others enlist the help of email automation software to be able to keep sending whatever content format they want and still keep them mobile-friendly. 51% of B2B companies are currently using email automation, and around 58% are at the planning stages of adopting the technology. Results show that automating emails have brought down the average unsubscribe and spam rates of triggered emails to 0.58% and 0.06%, respectively.
Here are other noteworthy mobile-related statistics:
- Optimizing for screen size? You should know that the iPhone accounts for opened emails more than any other device at 28.4%. iPads come in second place at 9.3%. Yet still, Gmail is the most-used email service, with more than 1.5 billion users.
- What do 58% of adults do first thing in the morning? Check their inbox on their mobile device.
- People are three times more likely to click a hyperlink, call-to-action button, or image within an email if received via mobile compared to desktop.
5. Adding a video to your email can improve results
The boom of the video generation, as proven by the success of YouTube, Facebook videos, and even TikTok, has left marketers with no choice but to join the bandwagon, even in their email efforts.
While people love to watch videos, the goal is to make sure marketing videos make sense and are interesting to the email recipient. Videos are cool and more enjoyable than reading, but people are not going to spend time watching something that’s not relevant to them.
When executed properly, an introductory email that contains a video will increase the click-through rate by 96%. In fact, simply using the word “video” in a subject line can increase open rates by 6%.
Furthermore, 54% of email subscribers would rather receive emails with videos, and by doing so, marketers can reduce opt-outs by 75%.
6. On Open Rates and Conversions
Mailchimp analyzed the open rate of emails for all industries and found that, on average, only 21.33% of emails are opened. That means out of 100 emails, about 79 never get read. The obvious explanation is the fact that nearly 85% of emails are spam, which translates into an average of 122 billion messages from anywhere in the world.
The challenge for marketers is to beat that industry open rate by coming up with engaging subject lines that won’t get flagged by automated spam filters and the recipient’s “spam radar”.
Conversion rates are a different ball game, and on average, about 18 out of 100 people who opened an email will make a purchase. However, there are a variety of objectives that your email may want to achieve, whether it’s capturing leads, soliciting a response, or maybe even just sharing updates. This makes conversion rate a kind of a nuanced metric.
From 2018 to 2021, email has solidified itself as a powerful channel in terms of driving purchases, accounting for 19.8% of all transactions, just closely behind organic traffic at 21.8%, and paid search at 19.9%, according to the data from Custora E-Commerce Pulse.
When you look at performance by email type, “abandoned cart” emails enjoy the highest open rate (46.6%) and conversion rate (5%), as well as emails that follow up on orders (46.1% open rate and 5% conversion rate).
7. Getting people to subscribe with the right push
People naturally want to engage more with emails with content that is tailored to their preferences, shopping trends, purchase history, and other personal factors. But motivating people to sign up to receive regular emails is a tricky business because there needs to be a certain level of trust towards a business before they click that subscribe button.
There are also different reasons for subscribing to newsletters. 42.3% of Americans sign up to email lists primarily because they want to receive promotions and discounts. Consequently, 1 in 3 subscribers will purchase something from the business they signed up for. Not only that: email subscribers are about four times more likely to share your content on social media, which boosts exposure even more.
Then again, you need to be careful with how aggressively you engage with your subscribers. Unlike social media posts that can be published every day, a single marketing email has to be planned with precision and timing. For instance, 40.5% of US subscribers prefer to receive emails only once a month, and once they get emails too often, 30.8% of them hit that unsubscribe button.
Below are the reasons why people unsubscribe from email lists.
- Too many emails (59%)
- Content had stopped being relevant (43%)
- I can’t remember signing up or don’t recognize the brand (43%)
8. Using email to retain or win back customers
Aside from acquiring new customers, email marketing is also an effective tool for customer retention, according to 80% of business professionals based on a study by Emarsys. When we get special emails from our favourite brand, say, a promotional email about discounted Halloween costumes available for the whole month of October, or a list of cheap flights for the summer season, we tend to appreciate the business more, and we feel lucky that we’re part of their email list.
Even something as simple as sending welcome emails to new subscribers can generate 320% more revenue on a per email basis than succeeding promotional emails. They are retained as customers just by keeping them in the loop and establishing that deeper level of rapport and communication.
Email can also be used to win back lost customers as long as you’re able to come up with an effective copy that addresses their issues and reminds them why they were interested enough to sign up in the first place. It’s definitely worth the effort, considering that 45% of those lost customers that get a win-back email will open your future emails.
9. How email marketing hits the bottom line
The reason is clear as to why, despite other available channels, marketers keep coming back to email: the return on investment is massive. To cite just one of the stats out there, a study by Campaign Monitor reports that for every $1 spent on email marketing, $44 is made in return. That’s an ROI of 4400%. To compare, the average ROI of SEO is $22.24 and just $10.51 for mobile marketing.
Data also shows that for ten years in a row, email is the channel generating the highest ROI, at least in the eyes of marketers. It certainly hits the bottom line: a strategic, well-executed email marketing campaign will generate money for your business.
Image by Campaign Monitor
10. Email automation continues to rise
Whether you see it as good or bad, it’s indisputable that nearly all aspects of digital marketing are getting an automated version.
Today, you can automate your lead generation and nurture through CRM workflows, you can launch automatic ad campaigns, you can use powerful data analytics tools, you can improve customer experience through personalization tools, and you can even enhance inventory management or customer service, for instance, by automating an Amazon FBA business.
But long before these tools came into existence, email has already been utilizing automation to improve its efficiency and effectiveness. 55% of all companies are currently using marketing automation and are enjoying 320% more revenue compared to using non-automated emails.
Furthermore, automated emails have 70.5% more likely to be opened. This is mainly due to the fact that automation causes emails to be 133% more relevant to recipients, which in turn results in 152% higher CTRs compared to emails that did not go through an automated tool.
It started with simple automation, such as sending automatic emails based on trigger actions, but now, automation covers a lot more ground.
Image by Kinsta
Welcome emails take the cake by having the second-highest open and click rates and also the highest percentage of sales, with an order rate of 3.02%. This is followed by cart recovery emails (also known as abandoned cart emails), customer reactivation emails, birthday emails, and other custom messages.
It’s clear that email marketing is here to stay and that it’s actually gaining more power as more tools and trends arise. Your team is most certainly not going to focus on email alone as a marketing channel (unless you’re a bunch of full-fledged email marketers), but if these statistics are any indication, you need to bring email marketing to the top of your list and optimize your emails to the fullest because, well, it’s still the holy grail of marketing.
It’s also clear how you should do it: personalize emails, refine your targets, optimize for mobile use, add videos, use it to retain or win back customers, and leverage the power of automation.
So much power and potential lie in those emails, so before you hit send, make sure you’ve got everything covered. Share these valuable insights or tell us what you think in the comments!