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Article first published in July 2017, updated July 2019

Marketing today is all about knowing your audience and in order to do that, your business needs access to the right data. With this data and the technology available to marketers, they can achieve true personalization at scale, reducing customer acquisition costs by as much as 50%—all while still providing a decent overall ROI. Nowhere is this more evident than in email, which continues to outperform all other marketing channels. In fact, email marketing has proven to continue to give markets the best overall ROI at 3,800%, or $38 for every $1 spent.

Campaign Monitor launched insights for marketers back in 2017, and since then, consumers have had a complete view of the measurement and performance of a business’ email marketing investment.

We’ve continued to update our Analytics suit, and now, all of our customers can quickly understand their email marketing performance data, report on results and act on the insights from a central, easy-to-use hub—without the help of a data analyst.

However, before diving into the data, it’s essential to understand the consumers behind the data, which requires marketers to have some background knowledge on consumer behavior.

How do you determine consumer behavior?

Determining consumer behavior can be done in several different ways. In marketing, this process is known as customer behavior analysis. This analysis process can, again, be conducted in a variety of different ways: However, for the sake of email marketing, it can be broken down into a few simple steps.

  1. Segment your list – Separating your list into various categories helps you identify what actions are being taken by who. List segmentation can include demographic traits but should focus on engagement tendencies, such as online shopping habits, web activities, and so on.
  2. Identify the key benefit of each segmentation – This helps you answer why each segment decided to turn to your brand or product.
  3. Use your data – Once you have your segmentation, you will be able to identify key activities, such as where your subscribers found you, how they most frequently interact with you and common purchase behavior. These can be found through the use of your email insights, social media insights, and more.

What is the psychology of consumer behavior?

Consumer psychology is the study of how our perceptions, thoughts, beliefs, and feelings influence our buying habits. The psychology of consumer behavior takes the following into consideration:

  • How consumers choose a company, a specific brand or set of services
  • How both personal factors and individual differences can affect people’s buying choices
  • How environmental factors such as media, family, friends and a person’s culture influence their decision
  • The emotions behind a consumer decision

Consumer psychology is the study of how our perceptions, thoughts, beliefs, and feelings influence our buying habits.

Source: University of Southern California

Our 2017 Consumer Email Habits survey

To further support the launch of Insights and the need for data-driven marketing programs, Campaign Monitor surveyed more than 1,000 consumers across the United States to find out how they prefer to engage with brands and what types of email messages resonate most. Are they more likely to open emails with personalized subject lines? Do certain industries use email more effectively than others? How do millennials respond to email vs. social?

The 2017 U.S. Consumer Email Habits report highlights our findings, including:

Consumers still prefer brands to communicate via email

There’s no doubt: Consumers still love email. More than half (52.7%) of those surveyed in the U.S. check their personal email account more than 10 times a day, and it is by far their favorite way to receive communication from brands.

Marketers are delivering on personalization

Across all industries, companies are delivering on the promise of personalized emails by communicating timely and sharing relevant information that satisfies their audiences.

Retail remains on top, with 76% of consumers agreeing that retail brands are sending relevant, accurate emails tailored to their shopping needs, followed by the travel, entertainment, nonprofit, and media industries.

Discounts and personalized subject lines drive the most opens

It’s easy for emails to get lost in the fray. Our study showed that the top reasons for consumers to open an email from a brand are discount offerings (72%) and personalized subject lines (62%).

While personalizing an email is a proven strategy to boost click-through-rates, discounts have shown to be one of the top reasons for consumers to subscribe to a newsletter and engage with a brand.

Millennials lead the way in making purchasing decisions based on email

When it comes to taking action based on email, millennials are far more likely to do so. Despite the abundance of available communication channels, email remains the most engaging method for communication among millennials, with 58% “always” or “most of the time” donated to a nonprofit while just 18% of respondents 55+ did the same.

Consumer behavior and email marketing insights for 2019

A lot can change in the span of a few years, which is why we decided to see how consumer behavior has changed over the last two years when it comes to email usage.

Brand contact

While email is still considered the front-runner when it comes to methods of communication between brands and consumers, according to the 2018 Adobe Consumer Email Survey, the overall percentage of people who prefer email has fallen to 50%.

Research shows that phone calls and chatbots are increasingly likely to be the preferred methods of contact by brands, especially with the technology advancements behind artificial intelligence.

Incentives drive purchases, but consumers want more

While incentives from brands are responsible for influencing 37% of purchases, consumers have stated that they want marketers to push products less and send them more informational content. When asked during the 2018 Adobe Consumer Email Survey, 39% of people said they would prefer if brands made their emails less about promotion and more about providing the reader with information.

Another 27% stated that they wanted more content sent to them that is more personalized to their interests and preferences.

Brands need to better optimize for mobile users

When Adobe asked about the “most annoying thing” when reading an email from a brand on their smartphones, 20% of people stated that they disliked the amount of scrolling needing to be done to read through an email while another 17% said there was simply too much text.

Wrap up

At Campaign Monitor, our customers continue to design some of the world’s most inspiring and effective email marketing campaigns—and we want to keep them ahead of the game. With a new understanding of what consumers want from brands, and the right technology at their fingertips, marketers can deliver new value to the customers they serve.

Stay up to date with the ever-changing email marketing trends by checking out our top email marketing predictions for 2019.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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