Attract and Retain Users With Universal Email Connectivity Across ESPs

Learn how a universal email API can help you accelerate user growth and retain existing customers by supporting 100% of email service providers (ESPs).

Attract and Retain Users With Universal Email Connectivity Across ESPs

If you’re one of the 4.5 billion email users (over half of the world’s population), you probably have an account with one – or more than one – email service provider (ESP). ESPs work behind the scenes to power modern email infrastructure, allowing you to send and receive messages within the email client of your choice. 

Developers integrating email within their applications are particularly interested in the wide variety of ESPs, as it presents a unique challenge. Most providers, including Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Yahoo, are built using completely different languages and schemas. Effectively, this requires you to build and maintain unique integrations for each ESP you need to support. Building these one-off integrations on your own can take months or years, consuming up to 50% of your engineering resources

Thus, product teams face an impossible decision regarding which ESPs they will support. You can choose to integrate only with the “most popular providers” but risk alienating the rest of your user base by building features that they can’t use. And if you already offer partial ESP support, you may be missing revenue from potential customers who don’t use the same providers. 

In this post, we’ve compiled third-party trends and insights into today’s ESP market. We’ll share how you can save technical resources, boost retention, attract new customers, and address the expansive service provider market head-on with a universal email API.   

Email remains the #1 communications channel 

Despite the common refrain “email is dead”, email usage has shown resilience to the widespread adoption of other digital communications channels such as SMS, chat, and video conferencing. 98% of workers use email as a communications tool, and nearly all consumers still check their personal email every day.

Product teams that build email-powered features into their applications can leverage its unique position as a ubiquitous channel to drive engagement and turn their application into a hub for 1:1 or 1:many communications. In turn, these features can increase user growth, drive revenue, and cut churn by as much as 75%

Email is the largest communications channel worldwide 

Still, email trends, behaviors, and the providers themselves differ between the business and consumer market. While consumers generally rely on email to communicate directly with brands and manage order information, businesses use email to engage prospects in sales, coordinate with candidates in recruiting, respond to issues in customer support, and much more. 

As such, we’ve split our analysis into business and consumer markets to account for the differences in use cases, preferences, and available providers across these groups.

Microsoft, Google, and other providers divide the business email market


71% of businesses use either pure or hybrid cloud email – and that number is rising. Microsoft and Google are the two largest ESPs for business by market share (34% and 27%, respectively), thanks to the popularity of workplace productivity suites Office 365 and Google Workspace. Small businesses tend to prefer Google as an email service provider, whereas Microsoft has the upper hand in the enterprise. However, Microsoft is notoriously challenging to integrate with since individual companies can use different versions of Outlook and Exchange. 

Still, nearly 39% of the market uses other providers for their email needs. For these providers, you’ll need to connect via the Internet Messaging Access Protocol (IMAP). 

To capture more than 50% of the business email market, you’d need to build and maintain at least two entirely separate integrations (that will likely require indefinite, dedicated engineering resources). Unfortunately, the consumer market is divided even further.  

Consumer email is split between market leaders and regional players


On the consumer side, multiple providers are vying for the top spot, with Google capturing 28% of the market, Apple at 17%, and Microsoft at 11%. Regional or niche providers make up the remaining 44%, including Chinese telecom giant Tencent, Indian news site Rediff, and US search engine Yahoo. 

Due to the wide variety of consumer ESPs worldwide, it’s arguably even more challenging to plan and resource email integration projects. And as your business expands into new markets and regions, you’ll need to consider supporting additional providers. Luckily, APIs empower some companies to save considerable resources and quickly roll out email features to 100% of their user base. 

Connect to 100% of providers with a universal email API 

Between the countless email providers on the market today, user expectations for a seamless experience, and the steep cost of building email integrations on your own, you might be wondering: Is there an easier way to access my users’ email data across providers?

Email APIs are already a popular way for developers to send emails through a third-party IP. But with the Nylas Email API, you can connect directly to 100% of email service providers, empowering you to stand up powerful sync, send, and receive capabilities in your application. Nylas standardizes data across all providers, allowing you to connect to your users’ email without wasting thousands of developer hours building individual integrations to each ESP. 

By providing universal support for all email service providers, we eliminate the impossible decision of choosing which providers to prioritize and which to delay. We handle API updates automatically, meaning you can retask any dedicated integration engineers to focus on advancing your roadmap. Plus, our platform boasts 99.6% deliverability with enterprise-grade security credentials, allowing you to deliver robust features that your customers will love. 

If you’d like to learn more about how the Nylas Email API can save you time when building email service provider integrations, get a free API key or request a demo

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