How often are you asked or do you hear someone say “add me on Facebook?” Now, think about when the last time was that someone asked you for your email address outside of a professional setting. It probably hasn’t happened very often. That is because a lot has changed about the way that we communicate since the 90’s. The big innovations have been social media and texting, the two even faster ways of contacting a lot of people than email. But does that mean that email is now irrelevant or that millennials have abandoned its use? Is email dead to millennials?
Will email disappear?
Clearly email accounts are not disappearing and email is still used widely in the business and professional settings. But will it remain the best way for businesses to contact millennials? The vast majority of millennials still have email accounts but email accounts are the building-block for all social media profiles so it is difficult to tell if millennials ever read the emails that are sent to it. Millennials are thought to prefer text messages and social media messaging over emails due to the speed and ease of use of these newer systems. Another important draw back to using email is the loads of spam messages that are sent to every address.
Can’t email be integrated into social media and text messaging?
The short answer is that companies have been both successful and unsuccessful at doing so. The concept of online privacy plays a pivotal role in the balance between professional and informal means of communication. Some millennials are ok with receiving promotional text messages on their phones and others see this as a violation of privacy. The same goes for social media, for most users a few advertisements in their news feed is expected but when every other post is a promotion, they quickly become irritated. The key word here is optimization, millennials want to control who sends them promotions, as well as when and where.
Because most millennials communicate primarily via their smart phones, optimizing content to be accessed, viewed, and interacted with from a phone is going to be essential in the future.