Wednesday March 10, 2010

Marketers are using social media to enhance their email marketing campaigns rather than to replace them, according to new research published by Econsultancy and Adestra today.

The fourth annual Email Marketing Industry Census found that more than a third of companies (37%) are using email to encourage the sharing of content on social networks, and just under a third of companies (31%) say they are planning to do this.

A fifth of companies (21%) are using email to promote customer ratings and reviews, while a further 26% have plans to do this. The research also found that 28% of companies are using video content in their emails, as marketers increasingly use email to build customer engagement.

The 2010 research, based on a survey of almost 900 digital marketers carried out in January and February 2010, found that email marketing now accounts for 17% of digital marketing budgets compared to 14% in 2009.

Increased investment can be attributed to the fact that the vast majority of responding companies (75%) rate email as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ for return on investment.

Henry Hyder-Smith, Managing Director at email service provider Adestra, said: “The explosive impact of social media on email marketing and its significance on this year’s census can’t be ignored. We are delighted to see that email is far from dying in the midst of the social media revolution. And instead of cannibalisation, we are witnessing a solid partnership evolving between the two; email and social media working in harmony to fuel one another.”

Despite the fact that many companies are becoming more sophisticated with their email marketing, and integrating this channel with other activities, there remains concern that many marketers are still not following basic best practice, the research has found.

Too many organisations are still not paying sufficient attention to the quality of their lists and the importance of relevant email.

The research, sponsored by Adestra for the fourth year running, found that:

Only 56% of companies are using opt-in (43%) or confirmed opt-in (13%) data for their acquisition emails, while only 60% are using opt-in (39%) or confirmed opt-in (21%) data for their retention emails.

The quality of database is deemed to be the biggest barrier to effective email marketing. This is cited as a problem by 61% of marketers, up from 44% in 2009. But only a third (32%) of company respondents say list / data quality is a top-three priority for 2010.

The proportion of responding companies have problems reaching recipients’ inboxes has increased from 51% last year to 54%. The percentage of companies who say that deliverability is a barrier to success has increased from 13% in 2009 to 24% in 2010.

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director at Econsultancy, said: “Companies must take care to focus on the relevance of their email in a world where it is becoming increasingly important for brands to demonstrate value, rather than bombarding people with unwanted messages. Sophisticated segmentation and effective list-cleansing are more important than ever. ”

Other key findings include:

More than half of companies (54%) are now using a hosted email service as the growth of web-based email applications continues. This percentage compares to 47% last year, a third (33%) of respondents in 2008, and only a quarter (27%) in 2007.

There has been a significant increase (+5%) in the proportion of companies who say that return on investment (ROI) from email is more than 500%.

But as witnessed in previous years, there are still too few companies who understand their ROI from email. Thirty-nine per cent of companies still don’t know their ROI from email. More encouragingly, looking at those who can quantify their return from email, there has been an increase in companies who say that they get more than 500% ROI from this channel.

From a range of email marketing practices, companies are most likely to be carrying out basic segmentation (80%) and regular list-cleansing (58%). The practices respondents are most likely to be planning to carry out are advanced segmentation (42%), content personalisation beyond name (37%) and behavioural targeting based on web activity (34%).

The integration of email marketing with other sales and marketing activities is an on-going challenge, and there isn’t much evidence of significant improvement in this area since the first Email Census in 2007. Only 17% say that their email marketing is “fully integrated”, the same proportion as last year.

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Journalists and bloggers can email Linus Gregoriadis for a complimentary copy of the report and / or further information.

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director, Econsultancy

(e: linus AT

About Adestra

Adestra is an industry leading, UK based international email service provider (ESP). We combine the best email technology and marketing expertise to deliver results for our clients. Adestra’s Message Focus… developed entirely by Adestra staff, you can manage your entire email marketing program using Message Focus, from data segmentation, to full and complete reporting.

The Adestra difference can be summed up in two ways - our approach and our people. Underpinning this is our technology which is cutting edge, user-friendly and is relied upon by well over 3,500 marketers to support their email marketing programs.

Adestra’s customers include TalkTalk, BBC Worldwide, Lloyds TSB, GMTV and Endemol.

About Econsultancy

Econsultancy is an independent community-based publisher, focused on best practice digital marketing and e-commerce. Our hub has 80,000+ members worldwide from clients, agencies and suppliers alike with over 90% member retention rate.

We help our members build their internal capabilities via a combination of research reports and how-to guides, training and development, face-to-face conferences, forums and professional networking.

An award-winning online publisher, our reports cover best practice, user experience benchmarking, market data, trends and innovation, and supplier selection aimed at Internet professionals that want practical advice on all aspects of e-business.

For the last 10 years, our resources have helped members learn, make better decisions, build business cases, find the best suppliers, accelerate their careers and lead the way in best practices and innovation.

Join Econsultancy today at

Published on: 2:38PM on 10th March 2010