AnalyticsEmail Marketing

2016 Email Marketing – Facts, Figures, & Forecasts

The digital marketing world continues to mature. An explosion of technology over the last two decades; from the creation of a connected digital world with desktop access to a mobile-heavy, device-responsive, persona-driven, data-collecting ecommerce behemoth has produced both a marketer’s dream and nightmare. Electronic mail has been utilized the entire time equally creating success and hardships for organizations that adopted the digital way of life, until recently. The last few years, email technology has seen tremendous advances in marketing capability, corporate adoption, and industry diversity.

A delicate balance of push and pull in digital marketing tactics has repeatedly positioned email as the channel of choice for data-driven companies wanting systematic programs for demand generation and revenue. Currently, email powers arguably 90-100% of communications for ecommerce companies within their transactional process. Consumer behavior has shifted as online communications diversify, inbox usage has lessened with the usage of social media and text messaging, but email communication is still in preferential first place for business-to-consumer interactions. From the beginning, email has statistically been a significantly more effective way to acquire and retain customers than any other digital medium; survey data has shown a 40% better customer acquisition rate than social media.

Email marketing more effective than social media

Simply put, email marketing has been the only vital digital marketing tool for company growth until the birth of big data technologies. Social media has played the game but inconsistently derived revenue to industry coffers. Now, with the unification of big data-powered platforms and email technology – it is positioned to be the top performer, again.


Industry growth year-over-year for email marketing has been standard. The increase of email accounts being created worldwide pushes the industry to improve offerings. Almost 3.9 billion accounts were recorded in 2013, ramping until 2017 where experts believe 4.9 billion email addresses will be online. Consumer email accounts currently sit around 76% of worldwide attribution, putting business–to-consumer marketers in front of massive potential audiences. The industry is far from dead.

worldwide email account growth

My Top 10 Favorite Email Marketing Stats:

  1. Personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates over non-personalized – Experian
  2. Email marketing is 40x better at acquiring new customers than social media – McKinsey
  3. 92% of online adults use email, with 61% using it on an average day – Pew Research
  4. 72% people prefer promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media – MarketingSherpa
  5. Automated email averages 70.5% higher open rates than traditional email deployments – Epsilon
  6. 87% of total clicks will occur when readers first open an email – Campaign Monitor
  7. Email is the top source of analytics data for marketers – Forbes
  8. Email marketing has an ROI of 3,800% – DMA UK
  9. About 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices. – Campaign Monitor
  10. Adding video to an email can improve click rates by 300% – Emma

Email as a digital channel has weathered detractors, regulations, and rival technologies since the beginning. Social media, instant messaging, and other communication tools have all tried to pull some success from email’s growth by labeling it as archaic, or dead. The rise of mobile technology usage by consumers long-term has propelled email to new heights. Now, email marketers can reach smartphone audiences with real-time content, video, contextual moment-of-open data – all displayed beautifully on the mobile screen. Mobile device usage has soared in the last few years, almost 400 percent for smartphones, and a 1,700 percent rise for tablets.

Adoption of mobile technology will continue to drive new uses for email. Emails will become more responsive to set-and-setting by identifying customer data to tighten messaging, and refining code to enhance the graphical display. Today, mobile devices are leading desktops in email opens and activity. Consumer preference diversity has forced email marketers to invent better ways to stay functionally relevant, and they have with great success. Email service providers have been successful acquisitions for big data conglomerates expanding cloud-based services online.


Looking into the future, it’s obvious that email has many more years of growth and maturity to live-out. Data-driven inbox interactions will become the ubiquitous best practice; content will update in real-time within the inbox, the mobile dominated markets will interact more with video-in-email marketing, and the email traditions of the early 2000’s will become automated persona-driven programs. All this being said, one foreseeable downside is that the volume of emails sent will rise to incredibly high levels compared to today’s standards. There are more people, industries, and companies adopting email for communication every day – elevating the level of competition in the consumer’s inbox.


  • Email will continue to mature alongside consumer demand. Marketers that adopt preference-driven messaging will become the benchmark for best practices. Email programs without the big data backbone will suffer to stay relevant using basic segmentation.
  • Mobile has changed everything for email; consumption volume, design techniques, video usage, data collection, and data usage are all motivated by the rise of handheld devices. The cross-platform approach will succeed long-term, leaving desktop-heavy technology behind.
  • Video is stronger than ever. It’s the quickest way to deliver messaging. It engages multiple senses, it’s abundantly available, and users prefer the audio/visual approach to text or static imagery. The technology is also very analytics-friendly, giving just as much data as traditional applications, if not more.