Demystifying the Inbox takes a look at South Africa’s online community and how this audience is being engaged via email.
I’ve never believed that email should be overlooked as a marketing tool for engaging with people online, and according to Everlytic, this is justified – they say email is the communication channel that offers the best return on investment.
According to Everlytic’s research findings, there are over 8 million people online in South Africa, and more than 99% of them use email. Of these people:
- 98% check their email at least once a day
- 93% use email to share content online
- 86% subscribe to at least one permission-based email newsletter.
South Africa’s digital population demographics
The digital population’s demographics are not representative of South Africa as a whole though – apparently online users are more educated, with professionals, managers, and business owners making up 48% of the surveyed respondents.
Another 19% were qualified employees such as teachers or nurses.
If we look at the ages of South Africa’s online population, 45% are between the ages of 25 – 40, but it’s interesting to note that another 22% are between the ages of 41 – 50, and nearly 10% are over the age of 60.
Email definitely seems to take off once you’ve entered the workforce, where email is the preferred tool for business communication.
According to Everlytic, even with the extensive reach of social networks, email is still the first stop for most people – 88% read their emails as the first or second thing they do when they go online – followed by reading news and catching up on Facebook.
I have to say I fall into this category – I check both my work and personal mail before I hit up Facebook or Twitter.
If we look at this stat by age, it’s immediately apparent that there’s a generational gap…
Older people will check their email first, whereas the younger generation will hop onto social networks before getting to their email. Does this mean I’m old??
How people engage with email
Email may be where productivity goes to die, but it’s not without impact. Apparently 61% of people constantly check their email, with many people spending on average 1 – 2 hours on email every day:
- 23.31% spend 1 – 2 hours reading or writing emails
- 22.26% spend 31 minutes – 1 hour reading or writing emails
- 16.80% spend 3 – 5 hours reading or writing emails.
According to the report, South Africans use email more than social media to share information, possibly because people spend a significant amount of their day reading and writing emails.
Keeping your inbox manageable is a manual process, and every email needs to be checked, even if just for a few seconds…
Hence why the ROI on email marketing is high:
People are more willing to engage with commercial offers via email because they are already in a business frame of mind whereas Twitter and Facebook are used for more frivolous non-transactional purposes.” – Demystifying the Inbox, Everlytic
If we consider the surge in mobile access in Africa, it’s interesting to note that more than 50% of people are now reading emails on mobile devices. Although the majority still access email via computer, I think we’ll continue to see email access while on the move increase, especially with the proliferation of tablets.
So how do we reach this audience via email marketing?
According to the research findings, 81% of people have more than one active email address. I know I do. So how do you know if you’re reaching people at the right inbox? Have you asked your subscriber where they’d prefer to receive your emails?
If they are using multiple email clients they may be spending all their time in Microsoft Outlook while you are sending your newsletter to Gmail. Or maybe they don’t want to be interrupted at work and would rather get their newsletters from you at a personal email address.” – Demystifying the Inbox, Everlytic
Consider this: the online population is educated and earn above-average salaries. They’re business owners, senior managers, professionals, and entrepreneurs – an ideal customer if ever there was one.
Email is definitely underestimated when it comes to marketing campaigns. Combined with a sound strategy – it may just be the call-to-action you’ve been missing…
I’m looking forward to seeing what Part 2 and 3 of Everlytic’s research findings have in store…
In the meantime, check out Part 1 of Demystifying the Inbox here.