“Will email continue to play a role in the future of advertising?”

If you had asked me that question a year ago, I would have said “yes, but it’s diminishing.”   There were so many compelling reasons to think it was becoming a dinosaur in the ad world.   Major universities were dropping it, consumers were opting out of email subscriptions because of irritating overuse, Facebook messaging was becoming more popular, and IM and texting and use of other fresh methods of communication were on the rise.

I didn’t anticipate a few important trends.  Along with many other agencies, digital experts and technology bloggers I didn’t see the rapid fracture in the digital and social world coming so quickly.  While consumers now spend time on many different social media platforms, practically everyone has an email address (yahoo is the most common, go figure).  The second thing keeping email alive is the exponential growth in the use of smartphones.

More than 50% of all phones in the United States have the capability to receive and send email and 88% of Americans still check their email daily.  It’s predicted that by the end of 2012, more people will be reading emails on their smartphones than their desktops and 85% of all mobile email will be read on an Apple device. (-cdn.techi.com)

I’m happy for forward thinking email management companies like Constant Contact who have embraced the social movement rather than trying to compete with it.  The folks at CC are actually creating ways to integrate their email offerings into the social world.

While I’ve always advised my clients to create and maintain accurate customer email lists, it was more of a back-up plan in my mind rather than a solid means of connecting with their consumer in the future.

So ask me today:  “Does email have a future in advertising?”

I don’t believe it’s going away anytime soon.

Smartphones and tablets have given it new life.