18 fun and handy facts about email marketing

Picture of a random teenager (my son) on his mobile phone.
My son not using email.

I have the hardest time getting my teenagers to use email. It's a generational thing that all parents probably contend with, and for marketers, it points to the growing importance of social media and mobile apps in the marketing mix. But unless teenagers comprise your largest target market, there's one enduring fact about email you should bear in mind:

Email still matters. A lot.

Email matters because it remains the most common form of business communications.

Picture of a random teenage girl (my daughter) taking a selfie.
My daughter definitely not using email.

It's very versatile, allowing you to attach files and embed links, and there are time-stamps and other important functions that give it enduring value. For my kids, they simply need to know that it's the preferred channel for their teachers, bosses and other adults (such as their parents). For communicating with most anyone over the age of 25, especially business decision-makers and influencers, email remains important.

With that thought in mind, I stopped by the booth of Emma - a company dedicated to email and survey communications - at a recent Content Marketing World. I was immediately taken by one of their hand-outs, enticingly titled: 18 Email Stats to Know, Love, and Quote at Parties. Their booklet includes the caveat, "Please don't quote these at parties," but nowhere did it warn me to refrain from blogging about these email stats.

So, after asking Content Marketing Strategist Jamie Bradley if I could blog about these statistics, I happily present them to you verbatim from their great handout:

  1. The average open rate for welcome emails is a whopping 50%, making them 86% more effective then email newsletters. So, an automated welcome is a no-brainer. (Source: MarketingSherpa)
  2. 51% of all email is opened on a mobile device. So, design for the smallest screen first, and use responsive design templates to ensure your emails look great on any screen size. (Source: Litmus)
  3. 80% of people are only scanning your email. Capture the big idea of your email with a bold image and strong headline. (Source: Nielsen Norman Group)
  4. Relevant emails drive 18X more revenue than broadcast emails. Use data you've collected to segment your subscribers, and create targeted, personalized emails. (Source: Jupiter Research)
  5. Nurtured emails make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. Create an automated series that delivers your best content to subscribers over time, and it'll pay off. (Source: The Annultas Group)
  6. The human fingertip is around 46px squared, so size your buttons accordingly to make tapping easy for mobile readers. (Source: Apple)
  7. 58% of adults check email first thing in the morning. Knowing that, try sending your emails early in the day - you might see an uptick in opens. (Source: Enzaga)
  8. Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text. So, change up your text-to-images ratio, and take the time to choose images that tell your story. (Source: 3M Corporation)
  9. People check their mobile phone up to 150x a day. Use email and social together to reinforce your message in all the places people visit on their phones. (Source: kpcb.com)
  10. iPhones will cut off a subject line over 32 characters. Put the most important words of your subject line first. (Source: Harland Clarke Digital)
  11. Surrounding text with a more significant amount of white space improves comprehension by 20%, so don't pack your content too tightly. (Source: Crazy Egg)
  12. Subscribers that receive a welcome note show 33% more long-term brand engagement. Extend the life of your list by making a warm, friendly first impression. (Source: Chiefmarketer.com)
  13. Eye-tracking data shows that viewers look to the same part of the screen where images of people are looking. Seems like a pretty good place to put your call to action, eh? (Source: The Brain Lady Blog)
  14. Receiving too many emails is the #1 reason people unsubscribe. Use automated emails that arrive just at the right time instead of blasting (ick) everyone with every piece of news. (Source: Chadwick Martin Bailey)
  15. Adding video to your email campaigns can increase click rates by 300%. Host your video online and create a thumbnail play button for your email. (Source: Wistia)
  16. Email conversion rates are 40x that of Facebook and Twitter. Promote email signup opportunities on social media, and then use email to convert. (Source: Kissmetrics)
  17. Personalized emails improve clickthrough rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%. But don't stop at the first-name greeting: Personalize the delivery of your emails with automation. (Source: Aberdeen Group)
  18. 100% of people will high-five you for sharing a smart email marketing statistic. Take these stats on the go at myemma.com/stats - they look great on your phone. (Source: Emma)


In addition to being a nice mix of fun and helpful, what struck me about these email facts was how the advice they served up with each one meshed with some of the recurring themes across many posts in this blog. The most prominent one is the idea that we need to stop annoying our customers with email. We do that by paying attention to the relevance of our message, but also taking care to optimize our interactions so channel, frequency and other factors make sense to our customers and we're also confident we have the best combination of offers and recipients in our marketing.

I hope you find this useful and thought-provoking. One other fun little something I'll share from Emma is the Our People page on their website. Move your cursor around on that page over each person's picture and you'll get a fun surprise and a little glimpse into their corporate culture.

Let me know what you think - and as always, thank you for following!


About Author

John Balla

Principal Marketing Strategist

Hi, I'm John Balla - I co-founded the SAS Customer Intelligence blog and served as Editor for five years. I held a number of marketing roles at SAS as Content Strategist, Industry Field Marketing and as Go-to-Marketing Lead for our Customer Intelligence Solutions. I like to find and share content and experiences that open doors, answer questions, and sometimes challenge assumptions so better questions can be asked. Outside of work I am an avid downhill snow skier, hiker and beach enthusiast. I stay busy with my family, volunteering for civic causes, keeping my garden green, striving for green living, expressing myself with puns, and making my own café con leche every morning. I’ve lived and worked on 3 contents and can communicate fluently in Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian and get by with passable English. Prior to SAS, my experience in marketing ranges from Fortune 100 companies to co-founding two start ups. I studied economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and got an MBA from Georgetown. Follow me on Twitter. Connect with me on LinkedIn.


  1. Really good statistics! Not surprising to see that an automated welcome letter works better than a traditional newsletter.

    I just did an interview with Sam Mallikarjunan from HubSpot and he said the traditional newsletter should die.

    I guess you have to be slick about working in your news/blogs into your automation workflow.

    • John Balla

      Hi Darren,

      I don't know the context around Sam's views about the traditional newsletter, but I think it's hard to make sweeping generalizations. I have an idea where he's coming from and I think as long as the traditional newsletter provides value to the reader and accomplishes what the publisher has in mind, there's no reason it should die. Every time there's a major leap in technology, the rush is to proclaim the obsolescence of the previous dominant channel. So far, TV has not rendered radio irrelevant, VCRs/DVDs/streaming movies have not rendered the cineplex obsolete, landline phones are still around (using VoIP mind you, but still around) and so on...

      I appreciate your comments!


      • Sam was specifically referring to the email marketing newsletter for ecommerce sites. For the most part, they are just blasts of products. In reading my original comment, I can see that I ommited that important tidbit.

        No one is saying email is dead. It is a top driver of sales for ecommerce. But when you have 10K products and send a generic sales email to everyone featuring the same products, thats a huge mistake.

        Personally, I actually pay to receive traditional a newsletter in my space. So totally agree.

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