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Case studies Email and teens

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“Kids say e-mail is, like, soooo dead”. "Facebook definitely kills email." "The new form of communication is based on social media."

All these announcements have been proclaimed and then retracted in recent years, but in the end email use hasn’t dropped - in fact, according to latest figures email is in pretty good shape. A study for the "View from the Inbox Digital" by Merkle, collected by the EmailStatCenter, points out that emails are the preferred business communication method by 74% of all adults online.

However, looking at the results in terms of age groups, there is definitely a downward trend in the use of email amongst adolescents. Guys and girls aged 12 to 19 are more interested in Facebook and SMS than in their email accounts. They seem neither to be a specific target for email marketing, nor users interested in this tool - which they consider for "old folks".

In fact, social networks enable users to communicate in a much more exciting and varied way, which includes games, link and photo sharing, public message boards etc.

From a marketer’s point of view, therefore, it would be wise to adhere to the advice offered by Emailblog.eu, and follow your audience wherever it leads you. If your goal is to sell products to teenagers, a DEM campaign is definitely not the most appropriate tool.

Whilst considering the tool itself, however, it’s worth looking at this question in more detail.

A survey carried out by ComScore highlights that American teenagers - that could just as easily include Europe – who email has fallen by 59%, compared to a marked increase in the use of social networks.

So far, no big surprises. The interesting question is not whether emailing is dead – the answer being no - but if it has any hope of surviving, or better adapting, to new generations.

According to the opinion of leading marketers, even in this case the answer is positive. As you get older you tend to prefer this more grown up and formal form of communication. Entering the workforce would also naturally require one to adopt this practice – so far we haven’t witnessed (with perhaps the rare exceptions involving more creative fields) the exchange of professional messages on Twitter or Facebook. Thus, the good old classic email still remains the best tool.

However, there is one last more subtle point to consider.

Everybody based their opinion around the fact that everything remains the same, when today's teenagers became tomorrow's thirty-somethings, social media will pass over to emailing and voila. It isn’t clear if emailing is destined to remain in any case: it could evolve or perhaps even disappear all together. How many prior technologies have met with the same fate, after all?

Scott Cohen, discussing precisely this point, stated that until there is some type of business conducted through the internal communications of Facebook and Twitter, then there will never ever be any risks to emailing.

Who knows...

[06/10/2011]

 

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