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Our newest study of consumer email attitudes finds that U.S. consumers continue to value email as a source of communications from chosen brands, but they expect an equal value in exchange for giving up their email addresses.

We found seven in 10 consumers across all age groups want to receive brand communications, even among Millennials (78 percent) and teens (61 percent).  But they also take an active hand with the addresses they use to sign up for communications.

Ominously for brands, if consumers don’t see the value – for example, brands demand their email address before showing them what they’ll get in exchange – they have several ways to get around the request. In other words, our study confirms that consumers are just as aware as brands about how valuable email addresses have become.

1. Show consumers the value to get the best email addresses

First-Person Marketers understand the value of an email address to the brand. This piece of data is even more valuable than Social Security numbers because the marketer can identify more about a customer based on the email address than any other single source of information.

Consumers also understand the value. Our study found they now have on average 3+ personal email addresses and close to two business addresses. That’s up from Adestra’s 2016 Consumer Report, where we found 39 percent of consumers had two addresses, and 20 percent had three.

2017 Consumer Report email addresses

How many personal and business email addresses do you have?

But consumers are now savvier about how they use their email addresses. One is their most precious and private address – the one they give out to family and friends and use in situations where an accurate email address is essential for doing business.

Another is the address they give out to brands whose email communications they want to receive. The third is the one they use when brands demand an address without providing anything of value in return. In our study, 46.7 percent said they use one of their email addresses specifically for emails they rarely or never intend to open.

Consumer separate email address

Do you have a specific separate email address used exclusively for emails you rarely intend to open?

When they land on a site that demands this piece of data right away, are they likely to give up their most important email address? Probably not. We found more than 60 percent will leave a site when they encounter an interstitial (a pop-up or popover form) before they’ve had a chance to look over the site.

2017 Consumer report Email address website request

When you come to a website that asks for an email address before you can access the website, what do you do?

Takeaway for marketers:  The value exchange is the essential understanding between brands and consumers. Show them what they’re getting in exchange for giving you their best email address. Then, follow up that promise by carrying it out in every email communication.

Be cautious with interstitials that interrupt their browsing experience on your sites. Test them on a smaller audience before adding them to your site to see whether the data you’re collecting has genuine value to your brand.

2. Teens continue to value email, but on their terms

Teens do prefer email over other channels for communications from brands as well as day-to-day aspects of their lives, such as school and work notices.

But they also have strong ideas about what they want from email and are more likely than others to use a secondary email address for messages they don’t value.

For example, 57 percent of teens said they would use a secondary email address if they don’t see the value in brand communications, and 33 percent said they would give a phony address if they needed one to visit a website.

Takeaway for marketers:  Teens are your growth market. So, don’t turn them off at this early stage with low-value or untrustworthy messaging. Communicate in terms they understand and appreciate, whether in email, text, or social messaging.

More results coming!

Keep an eye on the Adestra blog to learn more findings from this year’s study. For your own copy of the study, with results and insights you can use to compare with your own customer base and apply to your email marketing program, visit