E-mail Better Than Social for Online Influence - 07/17/2013

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – A new study says while social media may allow advertisers to reach large numbers of people, a larger proportion of the people who read E-mail actually become customers.

The study of social referral marketing campaigns by SocialTwist, is dubbed "The Connected Consumer: Brand Advocacy Trends from 100+ Social Campaigns.”

SocialTwist examined 119 social referral campaigns by well-known brands, including Sara Lee, Kimberly-Clark, Unilever, Western Union and MetLife. In each campaign, consumers were invited to share marketing messages, including special offers and coupons, with friends via social media and E-mail.

More than 3 million consumers participated in the social referral campaigns; of these, roughly 600,000 chose to share messages, and each influencer reached an average of 15 other consumers, for a total of 9 million new consumers reached via social referral. But only 300,000 of those converted to become new customers.

SocialTwist says E-mail was the participants’ favorite channel, with 55.4 percent of influencers sharing marketing messages via E-mail, compared to 41.8 percent who used Facebook. Yet Facebook was most effective at reaching large numbers of people, accounting for 85.1 percent of all the new consumers reached, compared to 12.4 percent for E-mail.

But when it came to conversion, E-mail outperformed social media. Among the 300,000 who converted to become new customers, 50.8 percent were reached via E-mail, compared to 26.8 percent for Twitter and 22 percent for Facebook. E-mail fared especially well in certain categories, accounting for 62 percent of new customer referrals in financial services and 60 percent in retail.

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