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Acquisition Email - [3 Major Insights] Brands Shouldn't Miss

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

Acquisition Email - [3 Major Insights] Brands Shouldn't Miss:

Data Axle surveyed 244 marketers in August 2022 [those tasked with customer acquisition and retention efforts across both B2C and B2B brands] to understand how they perceive acquisition email, how they use it, what’s holding them back from leveraging it, and how to use it to drive performance, transparency, and scale.

“In 2022, more than 333 billion emails are being sent every single day” – Data Axle

Acquisition Email – Key Insights from Market Research by Data Axle:

What is Acquisition Email?

Acquisition email, simply put, is the process of using email to reach prospects who are not yet subscribed to the brand’s email marketing messages. Sometimes referred to as prospect email.

Acquisition email involves sending permission-based emails (i.e., to addresses provided by a partner that has permission to send third-party solicitations) to consumers with whom the brand doesn’t have an existing relationship.

Acquisition emails must be sent via a third-party vendor who has secured the permissions to send the emails.

“As marketers prepare for a future where third-party cookies will no longer contribute to their lead generation efforts, acquisition email is well poised to play a larger role than ever in the quest for new customers”

Here are the Key Insights from Market Research on [Acquisition Email] Channel:

3 Major Insights – Acquisition Email:

  1. 77% of marketers believe acquisition campaigns deliver higher ROI with acquisition email.

  2. 28% don't use acquisition email because they are unsure if it’s compliant with consumer privacy laws and guidelines.

  3. “58% of marketers would use acquisition email if their vendor could prove the emails are privacy compliant.

Especially in times of economic uncertainty, marketers need to be making the most out of every dollar spent, particularly when it comes to new customer acquisition.

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Other Significant Insights – Acquisition Email:

1. Marketers understand how important acquiring new customers is to their overall marketing strategy. In fact, 90% of the marketers we surveyed noted acquisition as a priority within their efforts.

2. Only about half of the marketers today (57%) say their current acquisition marketing efforts are enabling them to hit their goals.

3. 94% of marketers say they’re using email marketing to engage with existing customers, with 28% saying it’s not working well.

4. By comparison, 86% of marketers are using email tactics to acquire new customers—with a full third (32%) of marketers saying it’s not working well for them.

5. Only 59% of marketers say they are familiar with acquisition email as a way of emailing contacts who are not currently opted into their CRM system.

6. Only 36% of marketers say they’ve leveraged acquisition email for their campaigns within the last month; 28% say they’ve either never used acquisition email or haven’t used it in more than a year.

7. The fact that only 36% of marketers have used acquisition email within the last month would suggest that even among those who are familiar with the concept, there’s still a lack of understanding as to what acquisition email is capable of as an always-on part of acquisition efforts.

8. Importantly, 23% of marketers indicated that they weren’t aware that they could email contacts who are not in their CRMs.

And when acquisition email is included in broader acquisition efforts, we see a direct improvement in ROI

9. In fact, more than a quarter (28%) of marketers surveyed said they had not used acquisition email recently because they didn’t believe it was compliant.

10. 53.3% of marketers said acquisition email is compliant with privacy laws and regulations.

11. According to our survey, a surprising 39% of marketers who are using acquisition email are employing it as the former—a tactic that exists on its own island vs. an integrated piece of a larger campaign that includes a display, social media, paid search, and other channels.

12. 60.8% of marketers said they have leveraged acquisition email as part of a larger acquisition campaign— including display, social media, paid search, or other paid channels.

13. By working with a [trusted partner] to target acquisition email campaigns wisely, marketers can cost-effectively extend their acquisition efforts in a way that delivers the ROI needed to meet and exceed goals.

Make sure your partners are well-versed in all existing compliance needs—including GDPR, DMA, CCPA, HIPAA, ISO, and SISA—and keep an eye out for new legislation that might be on its way.

14. When we asked about marketers’ confidence in acquisition emails to drive results, three-quarters of them expressed average to high confidence that the channel could help them meet their KPIs.

15. For the 28% of marketers who haven’t used acquisition email recently due to compliance concerns, there’s good news: acquisition email is not spam. It’s not a black-hat tactic or a bad user experience.

It is, in fact, 100% compliant with today’s privacy regulations, so long as marketers work with reputable partners who ensure that the contacts used for acquisition campaigns have opted-in to receive third-party solicitations.

16. Using a different domain for acquisition efforts ensures that current retention emailing programs are unaffected by acquisition efforts.

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17. Proper integration into the omnichannel equation is one of the best ways for marketers to ensure their acquisition email budget is working hardest for them.

18. When acquisition email is combined with other acquisition channels like direct mail, display, social media, and others, campaign performance improves across the board.

19. Acquisition email is often more affordable than other forms of marketing and can drive powerful results when combined with other channels.

20. Marketers need to look for acquisition email partners that can deliver the reach they need. For example, Data Axle has access to more than 250 million emailable records. They send over 1.5 billion acquisition emails every year with an average delivery rate of 97%.

21. According to our research, 50% of marketers would use acquisition email if their vendor could build targeted audiences for them.

22. To find the perfect audiences, partners should have access to fully cleansed and emailable B2B and B2C records based on both demographic and firmographic attributes.

To achieve the greatest results with acquisition email, we recommend a campaign that includes at least three unique emails and switching up the subject line to see what truly captures the attention of your audience.

23. Email marketing is tremendously valuable in and of itself. But one of the features that up-levels that value to marketers is that it is measurable.

Acquisition email attribution can deliver person-level visibility that you simply can’t get in other channels.

24. Matchback analysis has the power to give insight into not only overall revenue, but also average order value, net new customers, reactivation (bringing lapsed customers back), and retention (house records).


As a channel, email has proven itself as an immensely powerful and infinitely measurable investment time and time again.

However, as Data Axle’s research revealed, it’s still a significantly underused, undervalued, and misunderstood piece of the omnichannel acquisition marketing picture.

Now is the time for marketers to unlock new growth and improved results within their acquisition efforts, and the biggest opportunity to do so lies within one of the most well-established channels of all.

By working with reputable partners and taking steps to ensure acquisition email campaigns are driven by quality data, integrated into the broader omnichannel picture, powered by compliant and custom audiences, and set up for proper cross-channel measurement, [marketers can drive dramatic improvements in their acquisition marketing ROI]—not just in the email channel, but across all consumer touch points.

Want to read the complete market research report? If interested, you may access it here or read Acquisition Email FAQs.

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