Twilio study finds consumers prefer email and text when communicating with brands

An overwhelming majority of consumers report that they are annoyed by the current communications they receive from businesses.

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Cloud communications platform Twilio has released a new study that found consumers prefer email and text when talking to brands, despite a wide selection of channels.

The survey, which includes responses from 2,500 global consumers, also concluded that despite negative consumer sentiment toward how businesses approach communications, they are more likely to reward businesses that adhere to their preferred channels.

“Everyday at Twilio, we hear from brands who want to improve their customer experience yet are overwhelmed by the increasingly complex communications landscape,” said Sara Varni, chief marketing officer at Twilio. “There is a lot to be done to improve the current state of how companies engage with their customers and it starts with knowing which channels consumers prefer and how to personalize the medium to align with the context of the interaction.”

Why we should care

Understanding how, when and where our audience wants to hear from us is critical to keeping them engaged with our brands. The study found include that channel, frequency and timing will influence consumer behavior and sentiment. 94% of consumers reported they are annoyed by the current communications they receive from businesses, citing high communication frequency (61%), irrelevant content (56%), not remembering opting in (41%) and being contacted on the wrong communication channel (33%).

The context of the message heavily influences the consumers’ channel preference. While 83% of consumers said they prefer to receive emails, texts are twice as popular for urgent messages, including delivery or arrival notification or appointment reminders.

The research also found that personalization is increasingly important to Gen Z and Millenial consumers — the two groups who are also most likely to reward brands who meet their preferences or penalize businesses for subpar communication experiences. Across all respondents, Twilio found that 75% have rewarded a business for using the right communication channel with 71% saying they have penalized brands for not delivering on the right channel. Over one-third (34%) indicated they will make a purchase from a business that communications with them on their preferred channel.

More on the news

  • Twilio surveyed 2,500 consumers from the US, UK, Germany and Australia in August 2019 about their communication preferences and experiences.
  • All respondents owned a mobile device and had been the recipient of communication from a business through a variety of channels including email, text message, messaging app, social media, phone or a company’s mobile app.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for MarTech and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the martech community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Jennifer Cannon
Jennifer Videtta Cannon is a markerting specialist at ShotFlow. She previously was a Senior Editor at MarTech. Jennifer has more than a decade of organizational digital marketing experience. She has overseen digital marketing operations for NHL franchises and held roles at tech companies including Salesforce, advising enterprise marketers on maximizing their martech capabilities. Jennifer formerly organized the Inbound Marketing Summit and holds a certificate in Digital Marketing Analytics from MIT Sloan School of Management.

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