On average, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and AOL users deleted 4 percent more unopened email in 2016 than in 2015, according to a study of 2.5 million email subscribers by Return Path. Every industry from Distribution & Manufacturing to Business & Marketing was impacted, “with increases in delete-before-reading rates ranging from 2 to 5 percent,” according to the study.
Why are people deleting emails before reading them? Why don’t they just unsubscribe? My experience with my own overflowing inbox makes me think that an increased volume of unwanted emails is a major factor. It takes time to figure out which emails to ignore for now and which to unsubscribe from, and the unsubscribe process itself is often less than straightforward. So I avoid the filtering altogether.
The Return Path study suggests that many others are in the same boat.
So what does this increase in “delete-before-reading” rates mean for email marketers? As companies increase their online presence and take fuller advantage of email as a sound marketing vehicle, competition for a person’s time and attention – in their inbox and elsewhere – has never been fiercer. If one of your emails is deleted before a person even looks at it, your subject line may not be interesting enough, or the content itself may not be worth the person’s time. If your emails are consistently deleted before being read, your readers may be dissatisfied with your email marketing program as a whole, perhaps finding you too markety or even irrelevant.
In a recent blog, 3 Aspens Media President Lindsay Konzak posed this difficult but necessary question to content marketers wanting to improve their content: “Why, in a world where we practically trip over information, should your customers care about what you’re sending them? Why should they bother opening up an email or clicking on a link on Facebook?” Konzak discusses how critical it is to make marketing content useful to your audience and how to do just that in Is Your Marketing Content as Special as You Are?