Friday, February 10, 2012

Email stumbles in digital paradigm shift

The use of email has plunged by more than 30% in the last year among consumers under the age of 24, owing to the increased use of texting and Facebook to stay in touch.

That’s one of the eye-opening paradigm shifts identified in a must-read report from comScore on the fast-changing state of the digital universe.

A primary activity among wired individuals since the arrival of the Internet, email use in the last 12 months fell by more than 30% for those under the age of 24 and stayed absolutely flat among those aged 24-44, according to the audience measuring service. As illustrated below, only those aged 45-54 are pecking out more emails today than they were a year ago.

The reason, of course, is that a growing number of people are communicating via Facebook and/or text messages on their mobile phones. Many, of course, also are chatting on the Facebook apps on their smart phones.

The rapid shift in one-on-one communication is not the only disruptive trend noted in the comScore study.

Traditional portals like Yahoo, MSN and AOL are “conceding ground to Facebook and other social networks,” said comScore. Noting that portals represented 16.7% of time on site in December vs. 16.6% for Facebook and its brethren, comScore said social sites are on track to “soon declare supremacy over portals.”

Putting its growing traffic to good use, Facebook last year became the top publisher of digital display advertising. Facebook ran more than 1.3 trillion ad impressions, as compared with 529 billion at Yahoo, 215 billion at Microsoft and 174 billion at Google.

While Google remains the king of search advertising, comScore notes its vulnerability, saying:

“Advertising on Facebook – which combines many of the attributes of search such as granular targeting, small ad formats and self-purchased ad buys – presents a unique offering for many marketers looking to bridge their search and display advertising.”

13 Comments:

Blogger David said...

I would challenge this interpretation of the comScore report. What the report is saying is that *web-based* email usage is declining, but that it is being offset by growth in *mobile* email usage. Overall usage of email is still high; the change is in the way that consumers access email.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

With two kids between the ages of 22 and 26, I don't doubt this at all. They no longer use email.

6:37 PM  
Blogger dan said...

if kids don't use Email these days, what do they use?

7:38 PM  
Blogger Leo said...

I'm not surprised. It has become easier to contact your friends and family through Facebook than through email.

The only use for traditional email which remains, is sending a resume.

7:44 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Leo, I don't agree. I use email as my prime communication online platform, both sending and receicing, as I always have. i just use FV and twitter as supplements for reading news and friends' stories. and pics. But for me, email is like snail mail but modern for internet age. to jettison email platform is suicide for the culture. i feel

8:02 PM  
Blogger Racoon said...

Why worry -or even comment- on this, Alan? Do Tweets, Facebook and other "social media" constitute information sources?

8:29 PM  
Blogger Dave B said...

Leo wrote:
"I'm not surprised. It has become easier to contact your friends and family through Facebook than through email."

Maybe, but how easily can you find a comment (such as a job suggestion, etc.) someone made three days ago, or weeks ago, on Facebook? I can easily search my e-mail for information by author, subject, keyword, etc.-- without wading through irrelevant "updates" about what a person is having for breakfast, or endless photos of peoples' kids.

I find the "signal-to-noise" ratio much too low on Facebook. I'll take e-mail over it any day.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

I agree with David B. The signal to noise is far too low and Facebook search is far to inconsistent with the results assuming you wanted to find something over a specific time frame.

The reason a the 12-34 population do not use email is because they consider it a Formal means of communication just as we (44 - 70+) consider Snail Mail our formal means of communication.

8:40 AM  
Blogger EMM said...

I'm communicating all day on computers as a faculty member at a large university. In my experience, the "older crowd" prefers e-mail. I'm quite certain half of the e-mails sent on any given day in America comes from the faculty in my department. (And such LONG emails!)
In comparison, students sometimes don't even read university-sent emails. If you want to reach them, you can try to call their cells. But for certain, they always read a text. So, if there is an important change in university scheduling or a weather or security announcement, we always use texts. Emails and the university website are where students go for more information. Cheers.

10:10 AM  
Blogger James daSilva said...

I would cautiously posit that e-mail is shifting/receding to being a business function, both internally and B2B. People under the age of 24 don't fit that bill, except for those 21-24, and a lot of them can't find a job these days anyways.

Will e-mail use narrow to a more formal atmosphere? Sure. But there are a tremendous number of types of information for which e-mail is the most useful, secure, traceable and verifiable (at the moment) source, especially for business and legal contexts.

The real dying medium is web-based computer use. After all, here's the flip-side statistic:
"The mobile email audience for both age segments saw double-digit growth in the past year, with mobile email users age 18-24 climbing 32 percent."

12:02 PM  
Blogger G said...

About par for the course this is.

E-mail for the most part, I believe, is confined to the busines world since a good chunk of businesses don't allow FB/Twitter usage.

Texting is a different animal all together as at my job (a government agency) it is the primary means of e-communication, with e-mail being a very distant second.

On a personal level, my two kids (11 & 19) do not e-mail. They text.

4:29 AM  
Blogger Timo Ketonen said...

I quite agree on this. Out of our four kids the youngest three aged 16-21 don't use Email much. The oldest, now 26 uses Email at work.

As for myself it's still the primary tool, but I use Twitter more and more replacing SMF and Facebook and Google+ for private messages (not Email).

10:50 PM  
Blogger Vanguard Printing LLC said...

I don't see email going away totally, it will evolve into a different environment such as mobile websites or on Facebook which is already happening.

8:10 AM  

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