Yahoo Study Shows How Different Genders and Age Groups Use Email

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

email-to-worldIn the modern age, everyone uses email. Or at least, you would be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t however, just because we all use email doesn’t mean we all use email in the same way. A recent study from Yahoo examined how different age groups and genders used email and that data can be very helpful to marketers.

The Yahoo’s study, which was published in a journal by the World Wide Web Conference Committee,  is based on data from more than 16 billion emails sent by over 2 million people and did comprehensive gender and age analysis to see which subject lines were used, when emails were sent, response time, their length and the number of attachments.

The researchers reported that men send responses slightly slower than women, and they are likely to use fewer words. Of the messages analyzed, the median response time for men was 28 minutes and the median length of the messages was 28 words. It took women 24 minutes was the median woman’s response time and the median length was 30 words.

The researchers also found that age also plays a role, with older people being verbose and slower in their response.. The younger the person, the faster and shorter the reply. While adults age 51 and over take an average of 47 minutes to reply to an email. On the opposite end of the spectrum, teens reply to messages within 13 minutes on average. Similarly, responses from an older email user had a median word length of 40 words the median, where are the teens median word count was 17. Though it should be noted that teens replace message length with message volume. Teens larger amount of messages, so they may just be using multiple messages to say what older users would say in one.

The study also looked at how device type affects how long people spend with their emails. It should come as no surprise that responses sent from mobile devices tend to be a lot shorter than those sent from desktops. A person can only stand so much autocorrect. Smartphone messages are nearly a third the size of their desktop counterparts. The median length of a message sent from a smartphone is 20 words compared to 60 for those sent from a desktop.

This research shows business owners and marketers that email is an effective tactic for connecting with consumers at any age. If people respond to emails with an hour, and often within a half hour, it’s a sign that they keep their emails open often. While people don’t often respond to email newsletters or discount offers, what matters is that people see them.

The study also shows that mobile is growing in importance for email marketers. People on their mobile devices check their emails the most. Messages sent from smartphones are the fastest, followed by those sent from tablets.

There’s also data in this report that shows the danger of overloading consumers with emails. Email overload also affects behavior. People won’t immediately start deleting messages when they get too many, but they stop paying attention to them. According to the researchers, when people received more email, emails spent more time inbox. However, people were less likely to respond to them, and when they did, they used briefer responses. The lesson for marketers here is that using too many email newsletter or triggered responses can lead to people ignoring the message in their inbox. Think about how many emails from Twitter and Facebook that are probably sitting in your inbox now.

This data is interesting because it shows how age, gender, device type and message volume affect the way people interact with the messages they receive. While writing a response is something people do for correspondence and not with marketers, the data is helpful in showing who spends the most time with their devices and how much attention they pay to email messages.

For more research on email that useful to marketers, read this article with data that shows less content is more for email marketing campaigns.


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