Who Do You Trust? Email Newsletters Beat Social Media In Study

Where do consumers go for reliable information in this age of fake news? Don’t say social media.

The answer is email newsletters. And it’s not because of what they write, according to How Adults Consume and Filter Information Online, a study commissioned by PowerInbox and conducted by Mantis Research. 

It has to do with trust. Of 1,000 consumers polled, 58% say trust in the publisher sending the email entices them to read it — the number one reason.

“It’s more important than content,” says PowerInbox CEO Jeff Kupietzky.

Almost 60% of adult consumers subscribe to some kind of email newsletter, proving that email is a valuable engagement channel. What’s more, 75% will simply unsubscribe from newsletters they no longer want. Only 25% will flag them as spam.

That sounds like a lot, but Kupietzky notes that these totals reflect only those people who take action — less than 2% overall.

The takeaway? People will stick with email newsletters. But have a clear opt-out mechanism. These factors all have a bearing on your sender reputation. 



Not that the news is all good. “Overall, trust is low and declining,” Kupietzky says. Case in point: online-only media earns a paltry 55% trust rating, the study reports.  

And a mere 34% trust social media as a source of news, although 48% view it as a media outlet, despite its claims to the contrary. In addition, 73% worry about false information or fake news being used as a weapon.

Yet less than 40% subscribe using a secondary address: the majority use their primary email.

The study also found that 67% will click on an ad in an email if they trust the sender. And roughly the same percentage will click on an ad if it’s relevant. In addition6% will click ads on websites they trust

People don’t mind advertising—four out of five prefer free mobile apps that contain ads over paid apps with no ads. And only a third use ad blockers. 

What does Kupietzky recommend? “We see more people moving from long-form newsletters to shorter form,” he says.

That means two or three more personalized pieces that are “most relevant to them,” he adds.

Kupietzky also sees brands “snacking the content” — sending short-form newsletters more frequently.

The challenge is converting website visitors into email subscribers. Most publishers manage 10% or less.

“It should be close to a third or even half,” Kupietzky argues.  

The solution is to have effective capture screens,  featuring catchy offers, he says.



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