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DMA Consumer Email Tracker 2020


On Thursday last week the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) launched the 2020 edition of their Consumer Email Tracker.

In this annual study, consumers are asked a range of questions to gain better insights into the email channel and how well received these communications are, in order for marketers to understand and react to this powerful knowledge.

You can find the full research report here on the DMA website.

We found this research presented at this event to be very insightful. Our key takeaways are -


1. Marketing Landscape

  • In most cases email continues to be the preferred channel for consumers to hear from brands, especially pre and post purchase. But when it comes to content including advice, information and communication of new services, other marketing channels are preferred. Always consider the best channel before you execute your consumer messages - your preferred channel might not match the consumers'.


2. Email Ownership

  • At TwentyCi we often have conversations with our clients on the best time / day to send emails and the DMA research gives some important statistics to consider. For example, 44% of consumer do not have a work email address, so if you’re promoting B2B services then email may not always be your best channel as you wouldn’t be able to reach everyone.
  • Consumers continue to have multiple email accounts which presents challenges for brands where a consumer might want to for example, receive receipts to their primary inbox but offers to their secondary inbox. This this would be a struggle for many brands to achieve.
  • There are stark differences between age bands as to which device consumers prefer to open email. Younger audiences prefer the smartphone, but older audiences prefer using a desktop. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise and all email communications should render well on all devices. This insight can also help businesses to understand when a consumer may open your emails – someone on a smartphone may open throughout the day, but those on a desktop, maybe not until they get home (we don’t see these specific data points in the research, but it is something to consider when sending your messages).
  • Most consumers check their emails daily (35% reported to check hourly!), and what did surprise us is that over half are also checking their email junk folders daily – so good news for marketeers! However, in the 18-24 year old age bracket, consumers are checking emails once a week – so if you're marketing to consumers of this age, it's important to work out the optimal send day to ensure you are nearer the top of their inboxes.

3. Receiving & Opening

  • The most important factors that lead a consumer to open your emails continue to be brand recognition and the subject line. This makes testing of the subject line & the pre header text very important. 
  • A worrying statistic for brands is that only 13% of consumers say that over half of the emails they receive are useful. Relevancy is key to making marketing messages work, and you will probably find that through testing, different content will appeal to different parts of your databases.

4. Likely Actions

  • Some clients we talk to measure email success on open & click metrics alone; our own analytics proves that this is not ideal. We also see in the DMA research, that 23% of consumers go to the brands website via another route i.e. not via clicking a link in the email they have received. This means it’s important for brands to look at all the ways they can measure performance including attributing signs-ups and sales by matching back to the consumers you have contacted.


In summary, while email as a channel certainly has value to consumers, it’s important that brands ensure the communications they are sending are relevant, by the selecting the preferred channel and timely messaging; otherwise consumers are more likely to unsubscribe.

Brands should learn which segments of their database want to hear about which types of content, this is straight forward to do using the engagement data brands already have. Further insights can be learnt specific to your brand by testing - see my earlier article about testing for some inspiration: The importance of testing your marketing programme.

Or get in touch with us at the email address or via the telephone number below.

TwentyCi | | 01908 829300