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Smartphones increase email usage amongst students: ExactTarget

A new ExactTarget study found that text messaging and social networking increased the use of email, not decreased, as many in the industry have predicted.

The global study of 2,000 technology consumers found a correlation between usage of email, instant messaging, text messaging and social networks. ExactTarget said a key finding is the fact that people are adopting social media and that is increasing their email usage.

?I think that there is more than the adoption of social media that is causing people to use email more often,? said Austin TX-based Morgan Stewart, director of research and strategy at ExactTarget. ?The speculation more recently is that email use is waning, it?s dying, and that gets people excited, concerned and worried.

?The big thing is people are using email more often and part of the reason is the interdependence with social media, but the key finding is the smartphone thing is big,? he said. ?We are seeing a reversal of the trend of waning email use among college students, specifically because of smartphone adoption.

?I think it?s a big deal because it?s changing how folks communicate and how people use the tool and it?s going to impact how people look at email on their phones.?

ExactTarget is a worldwide provider of on-demand email and one-to-one marketing services. 

Mr. Stewart said that email is woven into all online interaction, making it an essential tool, especially with the number of consumers jumping into social networks, but then curtailing their usage after a short period of time.

According to ExactTarget, almost 40 percent of college students use smartphones.

Mr. Stewart said that the most surprising finding was that college students are using email because old marketing myths predicted email usage for consumers would start post-college.

?People thought it was a post-college thing tied to ?Hey, get out of college and use email to interact in the workplace,?? Mr. Stewart said. ?We found people going into college said they are using email more often than any other demographic and it makes sense because they are interacting with professors and potential employers in the latter part of college.?

But, not to be outdone by college students, 71 percent of business professionals with smartphones said they send more personal emails as opposed to work-related emails from their handsets.

Because email usage is going hand-in-hand with consumers using a mobile device, Mr. Stewart said that marketers need to fully integrate mobile into their strategies to reach consumers.

ExactTarget found that consumers prefer SMS as more of an urgent, immediate means of communication.

For example, consumers want [news of] fraud and travel via text messaging, not via email.

Mr. Stewart said that consumers are going to start to welcome SMS alerts as being part of a direct marketing channel and that marketers need to integrate mobile into their plans.

?I think marketers don?t necessarily need to launch a mobile campaign, but they need to launch a campaign that has mobile aspects so people can transact over a mobile site if they so choose to,? Mr. Stewart said. ?It?s not either/or, it has to be a much more comprehensive usage offer to increase campaign performance.

?My advice is to start coordinating and get out of your siloes ? not everybody has to get in and beat to the same drum,? he said. ?I think permission is going to become more and more important, as marketers run the risk of alienating customers if they don?t get permission.

?Consumers want to communicate with brands, they want to get deals and offers, but they will not tolerate it if it is not done in a respectful way.?