London, 19 April 2017

Email reigns supreme when it comes to delivering ROI and the increased appetite for marketing automation and personalisation means that more companies are reaping the benefits, according to new research published today by Econsultancy and Adestra.

The eleventh annual Email Marketing Industry Census report takes an in-depth look at email practices being adopted, the resources being dedicated to email, and the channel’s effectiveness compared to other types of marketing. The research is based on a survey of 1,200 client-side marketers and agency professionals, and contains insights from a number of email marketing experts.

Personalisation, marketing automation, optimisation for different devices and the future of email are all themes that are revisited in this year’s Census, and there are also new questions about the use of metrics, the application of artificial intelligence and the impact of Brexit on how companies are approaching the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Asked to identify the three most important features of an email service provider’s technology platform, two-thirds (66%) selected marketing automation capability. This has now overtaken user-friendly interface (60%) as the single most important attribute of an email service provider.

There is increasing evidence that marketers are getting to grips with automation, as the proportion of marketers saying they have been ‘very’ or ‘quite’ successful in implementing automated email marketing programmes has increased from 62% in 2016 to 67% this year.

The research also found that the proportion of companies who say they can send emails based on individual activities and preferences throughout the funnel at scale has almost doubled, from 8% to 15%. Almost three-quarters (71%) of companies adopting personalisation to this degree report an ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ performance from their email campaigns, compared to only 35% for companies who say they ‘are not yet working towards this’.

Personalisation (30%) is the area of email marketing where most respondents say they need to focus on during 2017, ahead of automated campaigns (28%), which was the number one priority area last year.

Despite email’s continuing ability to deliver, companies are still under-investing in this channel. The gap between sales (22%, on average) and marketing budget (15%) does not appear to be closing, which suggests that marketers are still not taking advantage of email’s ability to drive revenues. Email peaked at 16% of marketing budget in 2014, and has not made much headway since then.

Monica Savut, Head of Research Services at Econsultancy, said: “Email continues to be one of the most effective marketing channels and it’s encouraging to see that marketers are looking beyond standalone campaigns by embracing marketing automation and personalisation. However, this year’s Census shows that marketers need to adopt a more rigorous approach, keeping a sharp focus on both technology and strategy while never losing sight of the customer. The rewards are there for the taking, but reaping maximum value is dependent on two key success factors: investment that is proportional to any potential returns and a comprehensive strategy that focuses on continuous measurement, testing and optimisation.”

Henry Hyder-Smith, CEO at Adestra, said: “The results of this year’s Census show that marketers are struggling to see the bigger picture and stand by their choices. By getting the fundamentals working together – personalisation, automation, integration, optimisation – they can make the most of the technology available, offer their customers the experience they are looking for, and realise the benefits of becoming First-Person Marketers.”

The full Email Marketing Industry Census report is available for download here:

For more information about the report, contact:

Monica Savut, Head of Research Services, Econsultancy
monica.savut AT


Jennifer Watkiss
Head of Marketing Communications
+44 (0) 1865 242425

About Econsultancy

Econsultancy’s mission is to help its customers achieve excellence in digital business, marketing and ecommerce through research, training and events. Founded in 1999, Econsultancy has offices in New York, London and Singapore.

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About Adestra

Adestra is a trusted provider of First-Person Marketing solutions for global and growing brands.

The company's industry-leading email platform provides a powerful infrastructure for one-to-one, contextual messaging and marketing automation, helping marketers communicate more effectively with their customers and subscribers. Robust reporting features allow marketers to efficiently evaluate and optimise their campaign results. The flexible structure and open integration architecture allow businesses to connect disparate technology platforms to create a seamless customer journey.

Along with a best-of-breed platform that drives customer engagement and boosts ROI, Adestra was founded on the principle that marketing success takes more than technology, which is why customer service is at the heart of its business. Adestra was a winner of the 2014 and 2017 Customer Focus Award from the Customer Service Institute. It also won Bronze for Customer Service Department of the Year at the 2017 Stevie Awards for Customer Service, as well as being presented with the 2017 Supplier of the Year Award from one of its longest-standing clients, UBM.

Adestra continues to maintain one of the highest customer retention rates in the industry. It is trusted by top companies including UBM, FranklinCovey, and Condé Nast Digital Limited, among others.

Established in 2004, Adestra has offices throughout the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. For more information, please visit

Published on: 9:34AM on 19th April 2017