Distracted consumers spend less time on social than email marketing: Report

New report from Responsys and YouGov on how digital marketing communications are being received and the impact of second screening illustrates rise of the expectation economy

Consumers are spending less than 30 seconds reading or listening to digital marketing communications and are increasingly interacting with multiple media sources simultaneously, a new report claims.

According to a survey produced in November by marketing software vendor, Responsys, in partnership with YouGov UK, 50 per cent of consumers are spending between 5 and 30 seconds on average on emails from brands, while only 32 per cent spend the same amount of time engaging with marketing SMS messages.

The report indicated branded social posts are even less likely to garner attention, with 27 per cent of consumers spending the same amount of time reading tweets or Facebook posts.

“This suggests that the unobtrusive, opt-in nature of email continues to reign supreme,” the report authors stated. “Only 32 per cent of consumers spend the same amount of time on marketing SMS texts, demonstrating that as a marketing channel, mobile continues to be challenging as a method for distributing marketing content.”

The report also delved into the types and frequency of email marketing communications consumers receive and discovered 19 per cent are receiving 11 or more marketing emails per day, while 49 per cent receive between two and 10 marketing emails over the same period.

Of these, only 8 per cent are reading every marketing email they receive. Consumers are in fact more commonly reading less than half of what they’re sent, with 43 per cent of respondents fitting in this category. Despite this, one-third do expect brands to contact them via email with relevant incentives, discounts or other benefits within the same day of registration, a sign of the emerging ‘expectation economy’ where consumers own engagement, the report authors stated.

When it comes to sending emails, consumers were found to be more likely to read or look at branded marketing content during the week and between 5-11pm.

Responsys said the findings showed marketers are living in the age of the ‘distracted consumer’, and are faced with an ever-increasing challenge to try and cut through and make an impression. It’s certainly not the first time readers will have heard this, but is it a sign of the increased importance of getting a unified view of the customer and utilise multiple channels to get the message across.

As a way of highlighting this trend, Responsys and YouGov looked into the concept of second screening and found 44 per cent of adults are engaging in this kind of activity at least one a week. Those between 25-34 years of age are the most likely to dual screen, and 26 per cent of those use a second screen while watching TV every day.

“As a result of the increasing number of digital touchpoints available and the ability to engage with brands instantly at the touch of a button, consumers have more options and higher expectations in the way they interact with companies,” the report stated.

“The main communications channels – Web, mobile, social and email – are in use practically simultaneously by consumers. This has a major impact on the customer journey and how and when consumers expect brands to deliver on their promises.”

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To try and cope with this new age of consumer-led marketing, the report offered several suggestions on how to better your chances of success. This included getting to know your customers through data; drawing on the power of brand advocates; looking for the anomalies to better grasp individual consumer behaviour; and delivering individualised experiences.

Responsys’ latest research was based on an online poll of 2000 consumers in the UK over 18 years of age.

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