Study: Many Customers Annoyed by Extra Holiday E-Mails

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Many consumers think commercial e-mailers sent them too many pitches this holiday season, according to a new study.


Return Path, a New York e-mail marketing firm, surveyed consumer attitudes regarding e-mail marketing. It found that while 18 percent welcomed added holiday e-mails and 49 percent were indifferent, 30 percent said the additional pitches made them distrust permission-based e-mail. And 14 percent said they were "exhausted" by the deluge.


Return Path found about half of consumers unhappy with the volume of permission-based commercial e-mail they get: 50 percent said they received about what they expected; 40 percent said it was too much, and 10 percent said they did not recall signing up to receive any.


Almost all (99 percent) of the 723 respondents said they received extra e-mail during the holidays.


Sixty percent of those Return Path polled said they deleted the added pitches. However, 27 percent said they unsubscribed from e-mail lists that sent messages too frequently, and 23 percent said they reported the e-mail to their Internet service provider as spam. Just 9 percent said they spent more time reading e-mail to get through the increased number of messages.


In its analysis, Return Path warns that e-mailers sending too frequently risked souring their customer relationships.


"Consumers define spam as anything they don't find interesting," the report concludes. "This includes permission e-mail from companies they do business with."


Despite a level of weariness from added e-mail pitches, nearly 40 percent of respondents said e-mail had some influence on their holiday shopping, even if the purchase happened offline. A little more than 59 percent said the biggest factor they used in deciding whether to open and read e-mail is if it were from a trusted brand.


Brian Morrissey covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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