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December 19, 2008

Email a dying channel?

According to a report by eROI, DMNews, Bokardo, and Skype & Harris Interactive have reported that email is a dying channel. eROI’s report reaches a slightly different conclusion, but few would dispute that email is playing a diminishing role in digital communication. The report focused primarily on how high school and college students, as well as recent college graduates communicate digitally. You can sign up for a free copy of the report at eROI or read a summary of it at MediaPost.

Here are some of the more interesting facts from the report:

– average number of email addresses per student is 2.4
– Gmail is the preferred email service, beating out Yahoo and MSN/Hotmail by a wide margin
– Over 66% check their email at least once per day
– College students love social networks, especially Facebook and MySpace
– No Big surprise: 61% of students read marketing emails on a “rarely to never” basis
– Text messaging (37%) comes in first as a means of student communication with email (26%), Social networking IM (15%) and Instant messaging (11%) falling into 2nd, 3rd and 4th places respectively.

Interesting stats but the question remains – Is Email on its way out as a primary communication channel – not just among students, but among web users as a whole?

8 Responses to “Email a dying channel?

    avatar Alex Alcyone says:

    Interesting – and surprising.

    I don’t think email is dying though. It’s just that people are using text and IM for their rapid-fire stuff, short one liners etc. I think what you are seeing is Email settling and finding its niche…

    There’s no way you can send a proper letter etc through IM and social.

    avatar Robert says:

    Email will survive the test of time. I agree with Alex, email is still the preferred method of delivery for a proper letter.

    Could this signal the shift of Spam from email to social posting? One can only hope.

    email is sharing the communications niche with an increasing number of alternate communications methods–as do snailmail, telex and fax.

    As with any technology, previously existent methods continue to be used, although a new method may take most of the volume.

    Since email’s insecurity is recognized by the courts (email is not protected by client-lawyer privilege,) legal documents are often sent by other routes, including fax, snailmail, and courier.

    Different methods are appropriate for different uses.

    Texing, chat, email & others are all best suited to different kinds of messages.

    Texing features short, non-disruptive to observers real-time interactions, anywhere availability. But it is unsuitable for even medium length messages.

    Chat is basically the same thing as texing, except that it is usually used from more stationary positions with a full-sized keyboard.

    email is not-real-time, and suitable for very long semi-private messages including much commerce. It is not secure, although if encrypted it is secure to the point that knowledge that a message existed between two parties is semi-public.

    Added to this is the rapidly evolving variant of written language used for texing, which has begun to spill into other forms of written communication.

    Fax, snailmail & courier are suitable for various kinds of secure traffic.

    Fax for near-real-time transfer of documents, courier for transport of originals and physical objects for less time-critical and smail for larger items and even less time-critical items.

    It is disturbing that young people do not think enough about what method is appropriate for the message.

    Students often send email messages to instructors which are written in tex but which should have been written in more standard notice–of course, many of them (mostly freshmen, are busy asking for “permission” to skip class and similar questions indicating that they do not understand that they themselves are responsible for what they do or skip.

    Disturbing is the fact that most college students in the US spend much of their time on the phone-to their mothers!

    Even more disturbing is that parents will contact instructors to complain that their “child” is being improperly treated by being asked to write papers!!

    avatar Larry says:

    Until a better strategy comes along regarding internet business, email will be the king of reaching more subscribers (not spam) than any other method known at this time.

    The social contact methods may affect email use on the whole, but serious interaction will still require the classic email format.

    Larry
    http://www.4-the-love-of-jeeps.com

    avatar Dale says:

    Small business could not survive without email and I suspect the same is true for larger businesses.

    We previously sent our Paid Invoices via US mail to all customers. Now we send them via email in a PDF format. Over 50% of our customers prefer email over the telephone so that they have an exact record of the communications.

    In todays busy world who can remember all the details of real world business transactions.

    avatar Jeff Mills says:

    I authored the study, and I really appreciate everyone’s comments on the study. I feel that everyone is right on target. Email is finding its niche in the digital marketing environment. The only thing that is still lacking is the marketer’s understanding of how email should be used in conjunction with IM, Social, Text, etc. To create a valuable customer lifecycle program, all of these channels need to be taken into consideration. If you would like to access the study, you can download it from: http://www.eroi.com/online-marketing-resource-center/resource-center/ (you do have to register for the resource center) If you don’t want to do this, just leave a comment on http://www.returnonsubscriber.com and I will send you the study.

    avatar Mstardom says:

    I don’t think email will completely die out. It will just be used in certain instances, such as for sending newsletters, digital media, and things that don’t need a high level of security while being transmitted by email.

    avatar Robert says:

    I agree whole heartedly with Dale. Email is still the best form of communication when you may need to refer back to exact conversations. I’ve recently had the mis-fortune of dealing with insurance and thankfully everything is in email format so I have been able to reference past communication. Tax correspondence too is a dream when done online with email records. Not only is it easier to reference but no trees were harmed in the making of the email (although a few electrons were displaced) :)

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