Though messaging and social media apps have been claiming for years that email is dying, it’s still very much alive: the number of global e-mail users amounted to 3.9 billion in 2019 and is set to grow to 4.48 billion users by 2024.
This isn’t far behind the number of total internet users worldwide, which was 4.13 billion in 2019.
Why is email still going strong?
The “Social Security number” of our digital lives
In a world of new channels, networks, and devices, email is the one constant. Whether you check email from a phone, tablet, or laptop, at home or elsewhere, your main email address(es) “travel” with you from platform to platform.
For many, this is reassuring.
As we’ve written previously in this blog, email is still the identifier of record when individuals:
- Create an account and then later log into online services
- Register for webinars, online events, and courses
- Subscribe to blogs, podcasts, company updates, and loyalty programs
- Create social media profiles
- Make purchases, whether online, via an app, or in-store
Email serves as our digital records and receipts. If we cannot remember our username, but we remember the email address that we used to sign up for a social network or online service, that username will be in a confirmation email sitting in our inbox.
Email is also the workhorse when it comes to tracking our buying habits. For businesses, there are apps like Expensify and Concur to track receipts, but for most individuals, if we need to recall a transaction and how much we spent, we can simply perform an inbox search and voila—there it is.
The importance of email as a tool for marketing can perhaps be traced back to 1999 when Seth Godin’s book, Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers, was published.
Godin pioneered the idea that consumers will consent to exchange a piece of personal information for something of value. That piece of personal information was, of course, an email address, and the something of value was intended to be a personalized, relevant, targeted piece of content or an offer.
More than 20 years later, as marketing and ad-serving technologies have advanced, email remains the tool of choice for reaching consumers. “People aren’t very likely to click on ads, but getting them to open your emails is more valuable because email is a better delivery device for information and offers,” notes Chief Marketer.
Apple and Google want you to keep using email
Simply put, you need an email address if you want to use your smartphone—or at least enable most of the features.
To create an Apple ID and use Apple products, you need an email address. This email address is your Apple ID and the username that you use to sign in to services like Apple Music and iCloud. Apple also uses it to contact you in the event of any account updates, disruptions, and—you guessed it—special offers.
As for Android, it’s much more obvious: Google wants at least one email address associated with your phone so that you can make use of Google Play Store, YouTube, and other Google Services.
But still, love-hate
There’s no love lost on email. If consumers suddenly think that they’re getting too many unwanted emails, affecting their email productivity, from a company, perhaps a retailer or service provider, they have no problem unsubscribing or marking it as spam.
However, when digital goodies are at stakes—such as a 20% off coupon or free shipping—they have no problem signing up—even if it means creating yet another email account.
Some IT security experts advise people to create and utilize multiple email addresses as a way to protect one’s identity and ward off spam and a barrage of unwanted email.
Even with the creation of “fake” or dummy accounts to protect one’s identity, consumers would still need an email address to sign up to get discounts or freebies—thereby increasing reliance on email.
So, email is here to stay
Email has been around a long time, and it’s not going away anytime soon — despite marketers and PR professionals overwhelming your inbox with unwanted email.
It’s still a personalized, one-to-one communication method that people feel ownership of and connected to.
Email will continue to innovate and needs to be more intuitive so users can access the most important messages as efficiently as they can, keeping a productive inbox.
Consumers are ready to gain more control over their email inbox, wanting increased organization, and the convenience of a more productive inbox.
InMoat helps them achieve this.