December 29, 2005, 12:00 AM

E-mail entrenched in personal, professional life as usage blends

DoubleClick’s e-mail survey shows about half of consumers check personal e-mail at work and about half check work e-mail at home. Constant use calls into question the notion of a “best time” to deploy e-mail campaigns.

DoubleClick Inc.’s E-mail Solutions’ sixth annual Consumer E-mail survey found that despite issues such as spam and viruses, e-mail continues to drive online and offline commerce, with 78% of respondents reporting making a purchase as a result of an e-mail, and 59% redeeming an e-mail coupon in a store.

“This year’s study shows that e-mail is firmly entrenched as a critical communications tool for the majority of consumers,” says Eric Kirby, general manager of DoubleClick E-mail Solutions.

The survey polled 1,000 e-mail users recruited by ROI Research from the Greenfield Online panel of 900,000 U.S. households as having online usage habits representative of the larger online population. In other findings relevant to e-commerce, the survey determined that almost one-third of the respondents had clicked on an e-mail and made an immediate purchase, and another third had click on e-mails for information and returned later to make a purchase. For marketers, factoring such latent activity into ROI analysis for e-mail marketing programs is key, according to DoubleClick.

The survey also suggests e-mail’s importance to branding. 74% of respondents cited “a brand I know and trust” as the element most likely to drive a response to an e-mail.

According to the survey, spam still constitutes the largest proportion of e-mail that consumers receive, though the overall percentage had dropped from 45.5% in 2002 to 30.3% in 2005. And while spam is still cited as a concern by online consumers, with 55% of respondents saying they are “very concerned” about it, concerns over spam have been superceded by concerns over viruses, cited by 75%; identify theft, cited by 67%; spyware, 66% and online scams, 61%.

The data also show merging of professional and personal e-mail usage, with 57% of respondents saying they view work e-mail at work and 55% saying they view it from home. 48% say they check personal e-mails at lest occasionally at work during the day, with 21% saying they do so all the time. The data show constant usage of e-mail, thus call into question the concept of a “best” time of day or day of week for deploying e-mail campaigns, according to DoubleClick.


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