Which is more effective: email or social media – a case study

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Email is indeed social media.


Since the beginning of this year, there’s been a boat load of articles routing either for email marketing or social media marketing as the more effective tool for digital marketing purposes.

But lately, I’ve been seeing more research indicating that email is the way to go. Here are a few...

1. Email and Search Deliver More Customers Than Social Media

2. Email Beats Social for Online Influence

3. Customer Acquisition Via Email Is Skyrocketing Compared To Other Channels

And marketers themselves prefer email.

One study done by Custora researched 72 million people and 86 retailers in over 14 industries in the US confirms that email still tops social media for online marketing.

And now I have my own data to validate the above.

One of my clients is an e-commerce site that is in the fashion or apparel industry. They have a regional customer base. One of my interventions with my client was to conduct an online customer survey.

We proceeded to develop the survey and the distribution utilized both their fan base on their Facebook page as well as an email to their email database. Their Facebook page had 22,000 likes (many of which were obtained through Facebook ads). Their email database had 3000 people.

My client decided to give away a 20% off discount coupon to every respondent and this was announced to the survey recipients. To ensure quick response, we applied the scarcity principle of expiring the survey in 48 hours after distribution/announcement.

The results were shocking.

The reach of the FB post was about 400, so a reach rate of 1.8%. The open rate from the email blast was also about 400, so an open rate of 13%. This was a 7x higher impact from email.

The number of respondents from FB was only 6, hence a response rate of 1.5%. The response rate from email was 93, hence a response rate of 23%. This was a 15x higher impact from email.

I believe these statistics concur with the statistics from the articles above.

Email is superior to social media as a marketing tool.

Secondly, it also reveals that you shouldn’t waste your money on FB ads to get likes. FB likes don’t mean your likes are following you consistently.

So, should you ditch your social media efforts?

Absolutely not, as this article points out…

"So buying intent is not the driving reason behind social following and social sharing. Social is at its best when it's a mix of targeted awareness-building, customer service interactions, and customer-to-customer interactions which are all powerful functions, even if they're not a click away from producing sales."

Do you have anything to add to these findings? Comment below...


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