data-driven marketing research swipe file

Research Swipe File: The State of Email Marketing

Email marketing has long withstood the test of time and fleeting trends as a heavy hitter for reaching and engaging with customers.

But what do marketers need to know about email marketing in the year ahead?

To help answer this question, Ascend2 and our Research Partners fielded The State of Email Marketing survey. We thank the 528 marketers who responded to this survey between October 17, 2021 and October 22, 2021.

Research highlights:

  • Email isn’t going anywhere. An 85% majority of marketers agree that an effective email marketing program will be critical to the success of their overall marketing strategy next year.
  • Engagement is a major challenge. Engaging email subscribers is critical to the success of any email strategy, but over half of marketers say that increasing engagement is a top challenge to their success.
  • It’s time to integrate. Nine out of 10 marketers surveyed agree that integrating their email marketing data with data from other marketing channels improves campaign performance.

View the research report.

Are marketers finding success with their email marketing strategy?

With access to a vast array of channels that can be used to reach their audiences outside of their inboxes, are marketers finding success with their email marketing strategy? Most marketers say yes, email is helping to achieve strategic goals to some extent. One-in-five marketers report their success as best-in-class compared to their competitors while only 9% describe their email strategies as unsuccessful.


What are the greatest challenges to success?

Engaging email subscribers is critical to the success of any email strategy, but over half (55%) of marketers report that increasing engagement is a top critical challenge to the success of an email strategy. Creating an overall email strategy (31%), measuring performance and ROI (29%) and integrating email data with other data (28%) are also listed as top barriers to success by those surveyed.


What should marketers improve to increase engagement?

Increasing engagement is the top challenge to the success of their email program. Improving content quality and personalization will lead to a more engaged email audience according to 61% and 56% of marketing professionals surveyed, respectively. About one-third of marketers report that calls-to-action (CTAs) and subject lines are also critical elements to improve to keep audiences engaged.


Email marketing trends for 2022

Email marketing tactics and technology have advanced exponentially since it’s inception decades ago. Which email trends will marketers be including in their strategies in the year ahead? 58% of marketing professionals will be incorporating personalization tactics in their email strategy next year. Interactive content will also be used in 38% of email strategies in the coming year.


Importance of email

Most marketers agree that email is still a crucial component of marketing strategies. Nearly one-third (32%) of those surveyed strongly agree that an effective email marketing program will be critical to the success of their overall marketing strategy next year, while another 53% somewhat agree, making up an impressive 85% majority of those surveyed.


Improving campaign performance with integrated data.

Nine out of every 10 marketing professionals surveyed agree that integrating their email marketing data with data from other marketing channels improves campaign performance. This approach allows marketers to make strategic as well as campaign-level decisions based on a more complete picture of their target audience and customer.


Most effective KPIs to measure performance.

With which key metrics will marketers be gauging the success of their email programs in the coming year? Over one-third (36%) of marketers report that in the year ahead, the most effective KPIs for measuring email performance are Return on Investment (ROI), conversion rate, and click-through rate (CTR). Open rate and click-to-open rate (CTRO) are also considered most effective to over one-quarter of marketers.


Most used forms of dynamic content.

Where are marketers currently using dynamic content in their email marketing? 44% of those surveyed report that they are changing images and other visuals based on customer data. Text in email body and subject lines are also forms of dynamic content that marketers are adopting into their email campaigns according to 39% and 34% of those surveyed, respectively.


Use of dynamic content in email.

Any content appearing in an email that changes based on the various types of data collected about a particular subscriber is considered dynamic content. Only 12% of marketers report extensive use of dynamic content in their emails. Nearly half (46%) of those surveyed are using it sometimes while another one-quarter (26%) are planning to use it.

View the research report

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