Research Outline

Email Marketing


To provide insights using source material dated no earlier than 2018 that answer the following specific questions related to how people use email, how email is an effective marketing channel, and other stats/data that highlight email marketing performance:

1) How does email perform (ROI) amongst different marketing channels?
2) How is email used by people compared to other marketing channels?
3) How frequently do people check their email compared to other marketing channels/platforms?
4) How much are companies investing in email marketing compared to other marketing channels?
5) How popular is email app usage on mobile?
6) How does email support the standard marketing mix (4 P’s of Marketing)?
7) What is the growth rate of email usage?
8) What is the effectiveness of personalized emails?
9) What is the effectiveness of email segmentation?
10) What is the effectiveness of automated/triggered campaigns?

Research will be used to create content focused on the basics of email marketing, how email marketing is used by brands/retailers, why email marketing is effective, and how email marketing compares to other channels.

Early Findings

During this initial hour of research, we were able to provide insights related to email marketing ROI, how it compares to other marketing channels, how marketers use it, and how often consumers check their email. Our findings indicate that email marketing has a high ROI, and many companies consider it among the most valuable marketing channels.

Email Marketing Has One of the Highest ROI Rates

  • Search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and email marketing have the highest ROI compared to other digital marketing channels like AdWords, social media, website personalization, online public relations (PR) and outreach, and display advertising.
  • Email marketing in particular provides a fast, effective way for marketers to increase brand awareness.
  • Statista published a survey in 2019 that states 73% of marketers report a high or medium ROI from email marketing. For the other top digital media channels, SEO and content marketing, 73% and 70% of marketers report the same ROI rate respectively.
  • Another Statista survey published in 2018 found that the median ROI generated by email marketing was 124%. Other marketing channel listed include social media (30% ROI), direct mail (29% ROI), paid search (23% ROI), and online display (16% ROI).

Marketers Consider Email Among the Most Important Digital Media Channels

  • Email is considered the fourth most-important digital media channel behind social media, paid search, and online video.
  • According to Nielson, 59% of marketers consider email marketing either an extremely or very important digital media channel. Marketers report the same sentiment about other such digital media channels as social media (79%), paid search (73%), online videos (63%), mobile videos (56%), online display ads (54%), mobile display ads (44%), and television (26%).
  • Companies ask consumers to sign up for email marketing because 77% of consumers prefer "permission-based advertising" tactics "as opposed to direct mail, text, or social ads."
  • Automation is another way companies are using email marketing, and the global marketing automation software market is expected to grow substantially between now and 2026. This is due in large part to email marketing specifically.

Most Consumers Check Their Email Several Times Each Day

  • More than 3.6 billion people worldwide use email.
  • A Statista survey published in 2018 found that 24% of consumers check their email many times daily, 20% check their email a few times each day, 19% read email in real time, and 19% access their email accounts once per day.
  • According to the Harvard Business Review, most professionals spend 28% of their work day checking or responding to email.
  • Working professionals check their email with notable frequency at an average rate of 15 times per day.
  • These numbers are much lower when compared to how frequently the average American uses social media, which as previously noted is considered the most important marketing channel for most companies.
  • A 2019 Pew Research article states that 74% of Americans check Facebook daily and 51% log on to Facebook several times each day.
  • Consumers use other social media platforms less frequently, but the combined average daily usage rate for Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and Twitter is roughly 54%.

Summary of Findings

  • We focused this hour of research on providing insights related to the first three questions, which were:
    • How does email perform (ROI) amongst different marketing channels?
    • How is email used by people compared to other marketing channels?
    • How frequently do people check their email compared to other marketing channels/platforms?
  • We did not include any reports published before 2018, though some data used for these reports were derived from 2017 surveys and polls.