Email Interruptus: People Check Them Everywhere, But Don't Always Open Those From Brands

Consumers are addicted to email. But that doesn’t mean they will open any old marketing email that happens to pop up. 

You’ve got to offer them something of value, according to Email Addiction, a study by Tim Watson of Zettasphere and Jordie Van Rijn of Email Monday. 

Of 417 North American consumers polled, 67% will give you their email address in return for free shipping, and the same percentage for a $5 gift card.

In addition, 49% will provide their address for a free dinner out, 49% for 10% off their next purchase, 42% for brand loyalty points and 40% for an upgrade.

And here’s a stat that shows consumers are interested in causes: 24% will exchange their email address for a donation to charity by a brand. 

Why bother with email? Because it’s the preferred channel for promotions from trusted brands for 83%. Only 38% choose Facebook, and 27% chose postal mail.

Once they sign up, 74% expect offers and savings. New product information is anticipated by only 44%, and out-and-out sales pitches by 41%.  



Having a person’s email address is no guarantee that your emails will be opened. Emails have to be relevant, and they have to grab people with their subject lines. Here are the reasons people don’t open them:

  • When I don’t currently need the brand’s products — 59% 
  • When I’m too busy — 44% 
  • When the subject line doesn’t excite me — 44% 
  • When the previous emails from the brand were uninteresting — 39% 
  • If I’ve had a bad experience with the brand — 23%

As for frequency, 36% want weekly offers from brands they have bought from, and 22% will welcome them monthly. Another 18% desire them twice a month.

Only 7% want them daily, and 7% two or three times a week. Don’t bother with quarterly emails — only 6% like them. But here’s the kicker: 4% never want them.

Do you have an email newsletter? Be advised that 22% want to be able to reply sometimes. But 73% don’t care, and 5% say they weren’t aware they could not reply. 

What keeps people from unsubscribing? Inertia is a factor:

  • Sometimes the email offers are of interest—37%
  • I might shop with the brand again—24%
  • Can’t be bothered—21%
  • I might miss service notifications—7% 
  • I don’t trust unsubscribing—6%
  • I don’t know how—5% 

We mentioned addiction. It seems to be a real issue, judging by these stats.

Of consumers polled,77% have checked emails when they’re bored, 73% on weekends and 72% while watching TV.

Worse, 70% have checked them in bed, 50% in the bathroom and 6% in church. Now that’s a sacrilege.

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