I’m always hearing marketers talking about what digital channel is most effective, email or social. This past year, 2 established research firms published studies around this very topic.
When it comes to measuring the effectiveness of social media, The Wall Street Journal quoted recent Gallup1 research to suggest that social media has failed to live up to its early marketing hype. The comprehensive Gallup study provided a detailed perspective on just how unsuccessful social media has been for marketers.
And what about email? Many critics speculated that email marketing would be dead by 2014, but it’s actually quite the opposite. According to Forbes.com2, ‘research shows old-fashioned email is still far more effective than social media in attracting customers to your business online. Customers who come to businesses via email tend to shop more and spend more.’
So just what do people use social media for? According to Gallup, here are the top 3 uses:
- To connect with friends and family (94%)
- To follow trends/find product reviews and information (29%)
- To comment on what’s hot or new/write product reviews (20%)
Gallup research concluded that consumers would rather turn to friends and family members when seeking perspective on a brand, product, or service, than interacting with the brand. The study also revealed that company-sponsored Facebook pages and Twitter feeds have little muscle when it comes to conversion.
Let’s recap what we know so far:
- 94% of social media users use it to connect with friends and family
- Consumers turn to friends and family when seeking advice about a product or brand
- Email has proven its ability to convert consumers to purchasers
The following question remains: How do we combine the marketing power of email with the personality of social media?
Bringing these digital channels together and measuring the effectiveness of social has been a challenge for marketers for a decade. Bridging the gap between the two would enable consumers to share email offers with friends and family on social media and measure reach and revenue generated through the offers each subscriber shares on their networks.
Something like this: