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Return Path's 4th Annual Holiday Email Survey

Subscribers report a general love of email as a channel and say they find value in many email messages. Yet, respondents in Return Path's fourth annual Holiday Email Survey also report that overall, email marketing connections are fatigued, and many are just plain weak.

For the fourth year, subscribers said that relevance is in their eyes, not the eyes of the marketer.

  • More than half (56.4%) of respondents say they receive high volumes of "junk" from marketers - defined as "email from companies I know but that is just not interesting to me." "Junk" is second only to "spam" ("email I never asked to receive") which 65.7% of respondents say they receive in high volumes.
  • One-third say that marketers email them more frequently than promised. Most of this email is simply deleted unread, but subscribers do not hesitate to complain about unwanted messages (reporting the email as spam).
  • Many respondents say they determine the value of each email message by using the subject line (58.6%).
  • Most respondents simply delete messages they don't recognize (52.3%) or that they feel come too frequently (29.1%). Knowing and trusting the sender is key to that "open or delete" decision.
  • Slightly less than a third (30%) of subscribers say they only open messages from brands they know. This is likely from the increased education about phishing and spoofing and spam tactics.
  • However, another 14.4% said that regardless of brand, they only open the email if they requested the particular message type.

With most subscribers claiming they get more email than they expected at sign up, marketers must be cautious when sharing internal files or adding new message streams to existing subscriptions.

Download the survey here and/or sign up for the "Holiday Findings 2008: What is the View from the Other Side of the Send Button" webinar on January 31st.

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