Internet Trends: Email Down, Messaging Up

If you’re young enough, or just properly plugged into the mobile world, this is probably already old news. But larger companies and the media in general are just starting to map this latest online trend. Which is: People are rapidly transitioning away from email to instant messaging.

Think about any teenagers you know. You’re much more likely to get an IM from them than an email. The same holds true for twenty-somethings, though not quite as extremely. And this is the market most online entrepreneurs are aiming for, including Internet poker marketers.

“The numbers testify to the trend,” explains the New York Times. “The number of total unique visitors in the United States to major e-mail sites like Yahoo and Hotmail is now in steady decline, according to the research company comScore. Such visits peaked in November 2009 and have since slid 6 percent; visits among 12- to 17-year-olds fell around 18 percent. (The only big gainer in the category has been Gmail, up 10 percent from a year ago.)”

Take Facebook’s new site email service for example. The social networking juggernaut worked hard to make the service as relatable to instant messaging addicts as possible. The format is simpler and less formal than email, without even a subject line.

Email’s fall from fortune may not mean much to the average business plan of a small-scale casino affiliate. But larger-scale online marketers who make their money by communicating with consumers or who cultivate a hip identity should definitely take note. The trend is shifting; email doesn’t cut it any more. Simpler and faster communications are the key.