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Nearly two thirds (65%) of consumers across the UK are not content with either the number of emails they receive from brands or the relevance of the content, according to Mailjet.

The research indicates a growing disconnect between brands and customers around how different generations interact via mobile, with more work needed on the brand side to ensure content is relevant to the design needs of a younger, mobile generation.

Despite room for improvement, consumers are welcoming more brand interaction with 84% allowing real-time notifications across their portable devices to alert them when brands have reached out via email. This is likely as a result of significant advancements in the ways brands are beginning to engage consumers, with more than 2 in 5 (43%) now receiving real-time notifications the minute they come into contact with a brand either in-store or online. For the under 30s, as many as 64% are now experiencing these triggered communications with the vast majority (91%) finding the proactive approach from brands helpful.

Crucially, brands need to consider the different audience generations they are aiming to reach. Looking beyond the tech-savvy under 30s, mobile falls far behind desktop and laptop as the first choice for viewing emails, with only one in ten (11%) checking their inboxes on their phone. Similarly, 72% of over 45s admit they've still never noticed a real-time notification on any device after coming into contact with a brand.

This points to an urgent need for brands to contextualise their communications through the use of data insights and automation, enhancing how and when they interact with customers. Respondents expressed a clear priority for brands to provide better personalisation (41%) in the emails they send, with improvements to the timeliness (34%) and regularity (28%) named as the most important factors among the under 30s.

Growing demand for real-time communication

Over a third (37%) of Brits admit to checking personal emails during the working day, with most of these (61%) admitting they will check for any product delivery updates and product offers. When asked to put a figure on the number of time they look through their personal emails a day, 1 in 20 even admitted to checking at least 20 times or more.

Jose Scotchmer, marketing manager at Mailjet, said: "The increase in consumers looking for brand communications throughout the day marks a change in consumer behaviour based on growing acclimatisation to the technologies that are making marketing automation much more feasible for brands. It's important to note we are now at the point at which consumers have stopped looking out for brand communications and instead have come to expect timely, personalised interactions as the bare minimum throughout the purchase journey."

Social media playing catch-up

Regardless of recent news about the growth in social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter, overwhelmingly consumers still take the most notice of brands through traditional channels including email (61%), broadcast TV (34%), and even direct mail (19%).

Whilst 1 in 10 (11%) state they are now most likely to convert directly through a mobile device, few are yet taking note of brand communications and offers delivered through the likes of Instagram (8%), Twitter (11%) and Facebook (25%), suggesting these channels still have work to do to catch-up with more established advertising channels.

Ms Scotchmer added: “As the number of conversations across mobile and social continues to rise, it’s important to bear in mind that there are plenty of technologies and strategies we’ve yet to see from these channels. For the more established channels like email, it’s time for marketers to consider what email can offer consumers in the future. With more and more connected devices, sensors and location insights becoming available, the number of triggers marketers will have to integrate into campaigns will grow exponentially - thinking about how they can automate these processes now will make all the difference.”