Consumers continue to grapple with what to do about spam e-mail.

Over the past decade or so, consumers have been faced with basically two options regarding unwanted e-mail that comes into their often-groaning inboxes. And neither one seems particularly effective.

One option is to unsubscribe to unwanted e-mails. But many experts caution against doing this, claiming that it risks getting even more spam e-mail instead of stopping the delivery of unwanted mail.  Or it could be even worse, in that clicking on the unsubscribe box might risk something even more nefarious happening on their computer.

On the other hand, ignoring junk e-mail or sending it to the spam folder doesn’t seem to be a very effective response, either. Both Google and Microsoft are famously ineffective in determining which e-mails actually constitute “spam.”  It isn’t uncommon that e-mail replies to the personal who originated the discussion get sent to the spam folder.

How can that be? Google and Microsoft might not even know the answer (and even if they did, they’re not saying a whole lot about how those determinations are made).

Even more irritating – at least for me personally – are finding that far too many e-mails from colleagues in my own company are being sent to spam – and the e-mails in question don’t even contain attachments.

How are consumers handling the crossed signals being telegraphed about how to handle spam e-mail? A recent survey conducted by digital marketing firm Adestra has found that nearly three-fourths of consumers are using the unsubscribe button – and that figure has increased from two-thirds of respondents in the 2016 survey.

What this result tells us is that the unsubscribe button may be working more times than not. If that means that the unwanted e-mails stop arriving, then that’s a small victory for the consumer.

[To access the a summary report of Adestra’s 2017 field research, click here.]

What’s been your personal experience with employing “ignore” versus “unsubscribe” strategies? Please share your thoughts with other readers.

Checking messages: First, last and always.

cemIf you think your personal and professional life has become consumed with checking messages ad nauseum, you’re not alone.

Recently, Adestra and Flagship Research surveyed Internet-using Americans for eMarketer to find out just how pervasive the practice of checking messages has become.

The results surprise no one — even if they’re a bit depressing to contemplate.

Asked to cite when their first message check of the day is typically done, here’s what the eMarketer survey found:

  • I check messages first thing, before anything else: ~39% reported
  • After coffee/tea but before breakfast: ~22%
  • After breakfast but before departing for work: ~20%
  • On the way to work: ~4%
  • Once at work: ~8%
  • Later in the day: ~3%
  • Other responses: ~4%

[I was a little surprised to find myself in a distinct minority (checking messages upon arriving at work) … but I suppose when one gets to the office at 07:00 hrs. each workday, as I do, that may be when most others are en route to the office or still at home.]

Not surprisingly, the “check messages before anything else” contingent is more heavily represented by younger people, with over 45% of the survey’s respondents under the age of 35 reporting that they check messages first thing in the day.

The type of messages in question run the gamut from e-mail to text, social media and voicemail. But it’s overwhelmingly e-mail and text messaging apps that smartphone users check first thing in the day:

  • Text messaging: ~67% check this mobile app first
  • E-mail: ~63%
  • Facebook: ~48%
  • Weather app: ~44%
  • Calendar app: ~30%
  • News app: ~21%
  • Games: ~19%
  • Instagram: ~16%
  • Pandora: ~16%
  • Other social media: ~9%
  • Other apps: ~7%

More details on the eMarketer survey can be found here.

What are your message checking practices — and how are they different or similar to these survey results?