Will Consumer Email Marketing Soon be History?

The short answer is no.  However, web-based email usage (Yahoo, Google, AOL, etc.) is seeing a shift.  More youths are abandoning email and opting for different forms of mobile and social media communication.  But older Americans are continuing to use the Internet and sign-up for web-based email accounts.

According to comScore’s 2010 US Digital Year in Review, total web-based email declined 8% in 2010. The most significant decline was among 12-17 year olds, which was down 59%. Usage also declined minimally among 18-24 year olds and declined 18% among 25-34 year olds. However, web-based email usage was up 22% among 55-64 year olds and was up 28% among those 65 and older.

The shift is occurring as more youths are using texting, instant messaging and social media sites to stay in touch with family and friends, while older Americans are continuing to adopt the Internet and email.

As a marketer, this doesn’t mean consumer email marketing is a thing of the past. While the comScore numbers might seem like email is heading south, in the same study comScore reported email was one of the top mobile devise activities with 30.5% of mobile subscribers (that’s 70.1 million Americans) using their phones for email.

Also, the social media giant Facebook announced in mid-November that it will be launching email for its users. This means that users can sign up for an @facebook.com email account. While Facebook email is different than web-based email accounts like Google, it is still telling that Facebook is offering this new service to users.

Certainly mobile devises and social media are shifting the way we are communicating, but according to comScore, 153 million people visited web-based email sites in November 2010. Additionally, email still remains one of the top activities on the web with email reaching more than 70% of the US population each month. So don’t let the numbers fool you; email is still a powerful marketing tool and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

Jennifer Manocchio


After starting her career with Edelman in Chicago, Jennifer joined Sweeney and quickly established herself as an exceptional industry innovator. In 2004, she opened Sweeney’s first full-service office outside of Cleveland and quickly rose through the ranks to become agency president. Jen leads by example and without fear. She has been critical to agency growth throughout the past decade and continues to lead the agency into the future.