Half The World's Population Chooses Email

In 2017, there are over 3.7 billion email users, representing more than half the world’s population. In addition to its reach, email is consistently rated as the consumers’ preferred channel for brand communication, says Return Path, in partnership with Ascend2, in a survey report of 88 B2B and B2C business leaders and marketing decision makers.

In the report, Email Marketing Performance, these business leaders share their opinions on topics including:

  • The most important objectives of an email marketing program
  • The most useful metrics for measuring performance
  • The most effective email marketing tactics for reaching objectives

Executives in this study are extremely confident in the performance of email marketing, with 85% saying that email marketing performance is increasing, with two-thirds of those describing the increase as significant, and over 90% of executives surveyed believe their email marketing strategy is successful in achieving important objectives, with six out of ten describing their success as best in class.

According to the study, increasing ROI is the top email marketing objective (51%), followed by increasing list growth and conversions (44% each). The most important objectives of an email marketing strategy to achieve, says the report:

Email Marketing Objectives

Most Important Objectives

% of Respondents

   Increase ROI


   Increase conversions


   Increase list growth


   Increase click throughs


   Increase sharing


   Reduce bounces


   Reduce unsubscribes


Source: ReturnPath/Ascend2, November, 2017

Two-thirds of the executives surveyed believe that conversions are the most useful metric for measuring email marketing performance, followed by ROI and click throughs.

Most Useful Performance Metrics


% of Respondents





   Click throughs


   List growth








Source: ReturnPath/Ascend2, November, 2017

85% of executives in this study outsource all or part of their email marketing, with 43% stating that a collaboration of outsourced and in-house resources is the most effective approach, while message personalization and social sharing are considered the most effective email marketing practices for 44% and 41% of executives surveyed, respectively, says the report. And list data segmentation (41%), testing and optimization (38%), in addition to message personalization (35%), are viewed as the most difficult email marketing tactics.

Each year, the challenges marketers face become incrementally more sophisticated and complex, concludes the report. From constantly evolving spam filters to changing consumer expectations, marketers struggle to find solutions to address these issues. And in many cases, the tactics marketers are using are proving more difficult than they are effective.

However, in a mature industry like email marketing, the chances of finding a “silver bullet” that solves every marketing challenge are slim, says the report. Instead, real improvement comes through subtle changes to optimize each campaign, and incremental adjustments to the tactics marketers are already using.

For more details from the report, including charts and graphs, please visit here.



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