December 01, 2009

New Chart: Opt-In Email Lists Still Growing, Slowly but Surely

SUMMARY: This past year was particularly challenging for email marketers attempting to grow their lists. Yet, the trend indicates that marketers tasked with this difficult situation have achieved surprisingly positive results.
The general trend of people opting-in to email lists

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Opt-in lists continue to grow for two-thirds of all email marketers, which includes 11% who describe their list as "growing quickly." This is great news considering the complaints email users have expressed about the volume of email they receive. Even more surprising is that a mere 3% of organizations report negative growth or subscriber attrition.

Email received for business purposes is less likely to cause recipients to opt out, making B2B list size more stable. While the majority of B2B and B2C lists are growing slowly, lists intended for consumer marketing are more than six times as likely to experience accelerated growth.

This past year was particularly challenging for business-to-business email marketers, as seismic movements in the economy resulted in job shifts and losses at almost every company. This meant a sharp increase in lost email addresses, and explains the marked difference in trends for B2B. While nearly 20% of B2C mailers report that their list growth is "Very positive," the number for B2B mailers is only 3%, with the missing 17% found in the "Neutral" category.

Digging deeper, we find that email lists that changed in size during the first half of 2009 grew by an average of nearly 20%. The lists that decreased in size during that period did so by half that rate. In short -- the smaller the organization, the bigger the average rate of increase in list size. Email lists managed by large organizations that decreased in size did so at nearly twice the rate of smaller businesses.

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