Consumer preferences are always changing, and consumers expect companies to keep up. In the last few years, many businesses had to accelerate digital transformations and meet customers online. This meant rethinking how to stay connected with prospects and existing customers virtually, while the future of in-person interactions remained uncertain. 

Now almost 2 years into this digital acceleration, most businesses have found a stride with email, SMS/MMS, social media, chatbots, push notifications, and more. But that got us wondering—how do customers around the world actually want to communicate and engage with their favorite brands? 

To answer that question and more, we surveyed and interviewed over 4,800 consumers across the globe, from Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US. After analyzing the data, we’ve learned a thing or 2 about how recipients from different countries and age groups prefer to engage with branded communications. While we recommend you download the 2022 Global Messaging Engagement Report for a closer look at the findings, we wanted to share a few of the high-level insights. Here are 3 of the report’s key takeaways and how we recommend your business use this information. 

 

1. Email is still No. 1

Even though email has been around for more than 50 years, it’s still one of the most reliable and cost-effective ways to reach and engage customers. In fact, 18% of all global respondents we surveyed listed email as one of the top 3 channels they engage with most often. Email has become so ingrained in our daily routines that 77% of individuals admit they check their personal email inbox at least once a day, if not more frequently. 

Because email is such a tried-and-true way to reach and engage most audiences, many companies invested heavily in email marketing programs following the onset of the pandemic. At Twilio SendGrid, we’ve seen unprecedented email volume in the last year and even helped process over 5 trillion emails in 2021. While this surge in email popularity has certainly helped make the business case for additional investments in email, the downside of this additional volume is more competition. With email inboxes more crowded than ever, it’s even harder to grab customers’ attention. To stay a cut above the rest, your brand needs to ensure it sends engaging content your audiences want to receive, invests in deliverability, and follows email best practices. 

 

2. SMS/MMS is close behind

After email, SMS/MMS marketing is the next most popular communications channel—but by slimmer margins than past years. In fact, brand use of SMS/MMS remains a polarizing topic for modern consumers around the globe. Most of our respondents voiced that while they don’t mind when brands use SMS for two-factor authentication, comparable security queries, and shipping notifications, they find using text messages for marketing as an overstep. 

Most consumers still view SMS as a personal and private channel, although French respondents liked the convenience of branded texts, with 25% of respondents listing it in their top 3 most engaging communications channels. A word of caution for any marketers with German audiences: Consider skipping SMS/MMS marketing in this country. Only 2% of German respondents listed SMS in their top 3, with most consumers admitting they avoid giving out their personal phone number to brands. 

 

3. Message frequency is a top turnoff 

The downside to having companies ramp up email volume is that consumers receive more emails in their inboxes than before. This additional volume frustrates recipients, with 18% admitting the increased number of emails peeves them. SMS recipients echoed the sentiment, with 23% listing message frequency as a top turnoff. 

But how much is too much? For starters, hitting consumers with the same message over and over again is sure to tick them off. Not to mention, 52% of respondents said they would unsubscribe if a company emailed them every day. That said, global consumers said they’d be open to receiving more emails from their favorite brands with new, engaging content rather than advertisements of the same deals or products over and over again. 

The 2022 Global Messaging Engagement Report also dives into email and SMS preferences by country and age group to give you even more insights into how recipients interact with your messages. To give you a taste of our country-specific do’s and don’ts, here’s a “Send This, Not That” infographic created with findings from the report. 

Again, these takeaways are just a taste of what our 2022 Global Messaging Engagement Report has to offer. For even more insights and expert analysis into email and SMS preferences around the world, download the full copy of the report now. Then, you’ll be one step closer to building an email and SMS strategy that global consumers will love.



Lyssa Test is a Strategic Content Marketer at Twilio Sendgrid, helping create insightful guides and long-form content for email and SMS senders. When she's not working, Lyssa loves to try new restaurants, bike around NYC, and spend time with her two-year-old bernedoodle.