DoubleClick: Consumers Growing Clever, Comfortable With E-Mail

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Consumers are becoming more sophisticated in using e-mail and are more comfortable with marketers using data to make communications more relevant, according to a DoubleClick study released yesterday.

The sixth annual DoubleClick E-mail Solutions study showed that people easily move back and forth between their work and personal e-mails. Fifty-seven percent said they view their work e-mail during the day while 55 percent view their work e-mail at home in the evening. Fifty-four percent said they read their work e-mail at home over the weekend.

Forty-eight percent check their personal e-mail at least occasionally during working hours, with 21 percent admitting they check all the time.

The data call into question assumptions that there is a "best" time of day or day of the week for sending e-mail campaigns, according to DoubleClick, New York.

Spam is still a problem, but other issues seem of more concern to the survey respondents. Spam remains the largest portion of e-mail that consumers get, but the percentage dropped to 30.3 percent this year from 45.5 percent in 2002. Spam still worries consumers, with 55 percent saying they are very concerned. But spam isn't the largest area of concern, with 75 percent saying they are very concerned about viruses, 67 percent about identity theft, 66 percent about spyware and 61 percent about scams.

"This year's study shows that e-mail is firmly entrenched as a critical communications tool for the majority of consumers," Eric Kirby, general manager of DoubleClick Email Solutions, said in a statement. "For marketers, this presents enormous opportunities, while at the same time requiring a significant degree of sophistication to communicate and interact with consumers on their terms in a mutually beneficial manner."

E-mail continues to be a viable direct marketing tactic. Seventy-eight percent said they made a purchase as a result of an e-mail, 59 percent redeemed an e-mail coupon in a store and almost one-third have clicked on an e-mail and made an immediate purchase. Another third reported clicking on e-mails for information and returning later to make purchases.

DoubleClick worked on the study with ROI Research and the Greenfield Online panel of 900,000 U.S. households. One thousand e-mail users were polled via e-mail in May and June. Other study highlights:

· Seventy-four percent cited "a brand I know and trust" as the element most likely to drive response.

· Almost half reported having at least three e-mail accounts.

· The average consumer has maintained the same e-mail address for four to six years.

· Of those who change their e-mail addresses, most do so because of changes in employment or ISP, especially when upgrading to a broadband Internet connection.

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