March 25, 2016, 6:54 AM

What’s the secret to marketing to teens? Like, send emails already

68% of teens say they prefer brands to reach them via email.

Lead Photo

When teens interact with their friends they often use apps like Snapchat and messaging programs. But when it comes to getting messages from brands, the majority of 14-18-year-olds prefer good, old-fashioned email, according to a new survey sponsored by marketing technology vendor Adestra Ltd.

The survey of more than 1,200 consumers finds that 68% of teens say they prefer email marketing messages to other channels. While that’s a slightly lower percentage than millennials (73%) and baby boomers (75%), email far outpaces every other channel. Roughly 7% of teens say they prefer brands to send them push notifications and another 7% say they’d like to receive text messages. Another 14% say they’d like to receive both a text message and an email.

“Email is neither dead nor dying,” the report, “2016 Adestra Consumer Adoption & Usage Study” says. “Social media didn't kill it. Texting and Snapchat didn't kill it. On the contrary, email is the ‘killer app’ that marketers have been searching for. Why? Because all ages in our study want to use it in order to communicate with brands.”

However, retailers and other marketers have to be judicious in their use of email, and they have to make their messages compelling. More than 60% of respondents say they receive too many promotional emails. And, when asked what they would tell retailers about the emails they receive, 32% either say they receive too many emails or want marketers to stop sending them.

With so many marketers competing for consumers’ attention in email inboxes, retailers have to find ways to stand out. After all, 73% of teens regularly use their smartphones to do “inbox triaging,” in which they quickly scan their email to decide which messages to read, which to delete and which to save for later or ignore. That’s a much higher percentage than the percentage of baby boomers (44%) but lower than millennials (81%), which the report defines as consumers 19-34 years old. 

Moreover, 79% of teens—and 68% of millennials and baby boomers—say they delete emails that don’t render well on a mobile device. 

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