Yesmail Study: Gmail Has the Most Engaged and Fastest-Growing User Base

From YesMail: Despite Google’s recent controversial changes to its email service, including the introduction of inbox tabs and hosted images, a new Yesmail Interactive study shows that Gmail boasts the most engaged user base among the four major providers.

The report released Feb. 11 by Yesmail, Yes Lifecyle Marketing’s email marketing solutions provider, finds that 19 percent of Gmail users were active in the past 12 months—compared to 14 percent for Yahoo, 12 percent for Hotmail and 10 percent for AOL. The number of Gmail users is also growing far faster than any other free email service, accounting for more than 40 percent of all new subscribers in the last three months of 2013.

Yesmail based its findings on an analysis of more than 6 billion marketing emails sent on behalf of clients in the fourth quarter. The numbers suggest that the changes Google made to Gmail last year have had a minimal effect on engagement and growth for the 10-year-old email service.

“It is remarkable that Gmail, with its sometimes controversial practices, accounts for close to 15 percent of all database subscribers and, moreover, boasts the most engaged subscriber base,” said Michael Fisher, president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. “This, perhaps counter-intuitive finding, demonstrates the importance of measurement and analysis before marketers deploy new strategies.”

The big four freemail providers account for 60 percent of subcribers in marketing databases, and Yahoo is the most popular, totaling 23 percent of all users. At 14.2 percent, Gmail is close to overtaking Hotmail (14.7 percent) for the No. 2 spot.

Other findings from “Yesmail’s Email Marketing Compass: The Subscriber Domain Edition” report confirm Gmail’s continued rise in popularity:

  • 11 percent of Gmail users were active in the past 90 days, higher than Yahoo (8 percent), Hotmail (7 percent) and AOL (6 percent).
  • Gmail users accounted for 43 percent of all new subscribers in the fourth quarter, significantly higher than Yahoo at 32 percent, double that of Hotmail and more than seven times the number of new AOL users.
  • Gmail has the lowest percentage of subscribers who have never been active at 70 percent, while AOL has the highest at 79 percent.
  • A third of Gmail users have opted into marketing databases in the past 12 months, compared to 21 percent or less for the other three major providers.
  • Engagement with Gmail users increased the most during the holiday season, jumping 25 percent between Q3 and Q4.

To download the full report, “Yesmail’s Email Marketing Compass: The Subscriber Domain Edition”, click here.

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