In its usual great job of uncovering interesting facts and sharing them with marketers, MarketingSherpa has just released its latest information about how online consumers are viewing their email.
To find out whether BtoC email marketers should be designing for preview panes and image blocking like their BtoB counterparts, the research firm recently surveyed more than 1,300 email users age 18 and over. It discovered a couple interesting things.
One is that preview pane usage is on the rise. As the major ISPs and email clients upgrade to newer versions offering preview panes, nearly 40 percent of consumers have now been exposed to them, and nearly 27 percent say they have begun using them by default. I think this growing availability and adoption across demographics probably stems from the fact that active content, such as ActiveX, is always disabled, making preview panes much safer to use.
Somewhat surprising to me, MarketingSherpa also found that fewer than half of online consumers surveyed routinely block all images. Based on how many ISPs and email clients now block images by default, I would have guessed this number to be higher.
So what does this all mean? In a nutshell: Creative really does matter, particularly for BtoB marketers (where an estimated 70 percent of recipients use preview panes). Great design and layout are essential to the effectiveness of a message because it must be able to function whether seen in its entirety, or confined to a preview pane and/or with images disabled.
As Silverpop's 2006 "Email Creative That Works Study" revealed, response rates go clearly higher when message elements like logos and links are easily viewable and actionable by recipients.
MarketingSherpa's report is filled with interesting and actionable information, and I encourage you to check it out here. But hurry. Free access only lasts until Feb. 26.