Email Marketers Smart To Target 18-24s

Teens-ACAPTIVA ISLAND, Fla. -- There are multiple reasons why TV advertisers focus on the 18-to-49 demographic. It can offer more efficiency from a buying standpoint and an opportunity to reach an age group with more disposable income. There’s also the theory that marketers can reach consumers young enough to turn them into lifetime customers.

Research indicates that email marketers might benefit from a similar approach, although with a more narrow 18-to-24 demo focus.

In a presentation that used data from the Pew Research Center and other sources, Trendline Interactive CEO Morgan Stewart offered research that email marketers might find discouraging, showing that just 6% of teens use email daily and 39% say they never use email.

But behavior changes as they grow older. They head to college and communicate with professors and then communicate with co-workers. They are getting car insurance and setting up bank accounts and subscribing to email from those providers. That’s an opportunity to build a deep relationship, while enlarging an email list, Stewart said.

Looking at various age segments, Stewart said: “The biggest adoption or uptick in the use of email is when people are in that 18- to-24-year-old time frame … they are just starting to use email. Think about that from acquisition, on-boarding standpoint. This is a key seminal point in our ability to acquire and work with and attract new subscribers.”

Stewart gave a keynote address Friday at the MediaPost Email Insider Summit.

Stewart believes that email use among teens may increase with the spread of omnipresent smartphones. “We do have this reality that email and mobile are starting to converge in ways that we could not even imagine just a couple of years ago,” he said.

He presented data showing 37% of people agree with the statement “I use email more often since getting a smartphone.” Also, 29% say their experience accessing email on a smartphone is “as good as accessing email on a desktop/laptop computer.”

But 36% say using email on a smartphone “limits my ability to use email to its full capacity.” Reasons in focus groups include: people prefer a bigger screen, a mouse and keyboard for ease of use, and the ability to open attachments and print more easily.

There is one significant negative for email marketers -- they only agreed that they are “as likely to read commercial email (such as newsletters, promotions, etc.) on my smartphone as I am on my laptop or desktop.”

If smartphone hours explode and receptivity to email messages on the platform does not, there could be a lost opportunity. Stewart encouraged marketers to focus on “responsive design” and ensure that email appearance is optimized for smartphones.

Separately, Morgan said marketers need to shift away from using email as a promotional vehicle and giving it a more actionable purpose. Data shows that U.S. and U.K. consumers believe Amazon does the best job of communicating with them through email -- 20% named Amazon unprompted.

“They don’t send out a whole lot of promotional email,” Stewart said. “Everything is triggered, everything starts with some sort of an action on their site … they’ve identified and built the excuse to be able to communicate with you frequently.”

Other brands U.S. and U.K. consumers cited as solid email communicators include Best Buy, eBay, USAA, Verizon Wireless, Tesco and Marks & Spencer.

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