June 19, 2008, 12:00 AM

Online consumers most receptive to e-mail marketing messages

Despite competition from a variety of online marketing channels, consumers are most receptive to marketing messages delivered via e-mail, according to a new study from ExactTarget, a provider of on-demand e-mail and one-to-one marketing solutions.

Despite competition from a variety of online marketing channels, consumers are most receptive to marketing messages delivered via e-mail, according to a new study from ExactTarget, a provider of on-demand e-mail and one-to-one marketing solutions.

Of U.S. Internet and cell phone users surveyed, 65% made a purchase as a result of an e-mail marketing message, the highest rate among all digital channels studied, ExactTarget says. Only 9% of regular text-messaging users prefer SMS marketing messages to e-mail messages.

Older adults were most likely to make a purchase as a result of an e-mail marketing message, ranging from 65% for adults ages 25 to 34 to 79% for adults ages 55 to 64. 42% of teens ages 15 to 17 and 56% of young adults ages 18 to 24 made purchases as a result of an e-mail message.

The study also found that regardless of a user’s preferred channel for personal communication, most users deemed e-mail the most acceptable digital channel for marketing messages.

Among teens ages 15 to 17, text messaging is the most commonly used form of written personal communication (42%), followed by e-mail (27%), instant messaging (16%), and posting messages through social networking sites (8%), ExactTarget says. The preference toward text messaging was less pronounced for young adults, ages 18 to 24, where the use of text messaging and e-mail is equally popular at 34%.

Among older adults e-mail was the most commonly used form of written personal communication, ranging from 58% for adults ages 25 to 34 to 88% for adults 65 years or older, according to the study.

ExactTarget found that 95% of U.S. online consumers have given at least one company permission to communicate with them through e-mail. In contrast, only 7% of online consumers have given a company permission to contact them through text-messaging, equal to about 12% of online consumers who use SMS on a regular basis.

Data for the report was collected Feb. 8-15 through an online survey of 1,555 U.S. Internet users owning a cell phone and age 15 years or older.

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