Corporate Eye

The Future of Email Marketing

A couple of years ago there were predictions that email would die at the hands of Facebook and Twitter. It’s nearly 2012, and email shows no signs of dying anytime soon. In fact, a new infographic from Visible Gains shows exactly how email stacks up against Facebook and Twitter in terms of number of messages, spam, and users’ plans for each in the future.

The infographic shows us that there are approximately 2.9 billion email accounts globally versus 750 million Facebook accounts and 300 million Twitter accounts. Of course, more people have multiple email accounts than Facebook or Twitter accounts.

A similar gap exists in terms of the number of emails sent or updates published on Facebook or Twitter each day. According to the infographic sources, 188 billion email messages are sent each day versus 60 million daily Facebook updates and 140 million daily Twitter updates.

You’re probably wondering how email spam factors into these numbers. The infographic data suggests that 45% of all email is spam but only 18.5% of all email is spam that actually reaches recipients. This number includes graymatter as well such as unwanted email newsletters, alerts, and so on. On the other hand, the infographic shows that 79% of Facebook users believe that spam is a problem and 49% report that they frequently see content in their News Feeds that appears to be suspicious and could be spam.

You can click on the image below to see the full infographic at a larger size.

[Infographic courtesy of Visible Gains]

What can brand managers learn from this infographic? First, email isn’t going anywhere, so it’s premature to consider shifting large portions of your marketing budget away from email. At the same time, there are a lot of email messages sent each day. The infographic shows that an estimated 3.4 million email messages were sent per minute during 2010. Brand managers need to spend more time and effort creating targeted messages and offers and sending those messages to the right audiences.

This applies on Facebook and Twitter, too. The tool is different but the concept is the same. In other words, fundamental marketing theory lives on regardless of the media. The three Ms — market, message, media — still apply. In fact, with the number of messages people see every day, the 3 Ms are more important than ever.

Have you modified your email marketing investments and strategies since Facebook and Twitter debuted? Leave a comment and share your thoughts on the future of email.

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.