In the weeks since Twitter’s IPO was first announced, it seems as though every business journal has been frantically analyzing the microblogging site’s profit potential and its merits as a potential investment. Despite the recent furor, this is nothing new. Ever since Facebook was widely adopted, people have extolled the virtues, even the necessity, of marketing through social media. But recent studies show that the Internet’s most effective marketing tool can’t be measured through likes or retweets.
It just may be a bit more old-fashioned than that.
New research from SocialTwist, a company that deals in online commerce and incentives, suggests that email is actually the top medium for sharing online coupons and deals among consumers. According to this study, 55.4% of brand advocates employ email to share information relating to deals, whereas only 41.8% use Facebook and a measly 2.6% use Twitter. Although it’s worth noting that, due to Twitter’s “retweet” option, its content can quickly outstrip its initial reach, whereas emails do have to be forwarded on from person to person or from one person to a limited group, as defined by a listserv.
Despite this more traditional method of spreading from person to person, email is still a vastly more effective marketing tool.
According to survey agency Complete, 46.2% of people receive more than 10 messages from retail email lists each week and roughly 20% of them receive over 30. This has led to email being the second most effective incoming traffic source for the majority of the world’s shopping sites, with search engines like Google taking the top prize.
Given the advent of social media and browser cookie-targeted advertising in recent years, brands have had to adjust the types of emails that they send out in these campaigns. Gone are the days when a mass mailing would be effective. Nowadays, many successful brands send out highly personalized emails, often based on purchasing habits or indicated preferences. Naturally, this level of personalization contributes to more effective marketing.
Although social media marketing has certainly increased in popularity over the past decade and has, in many ways, replaced traditional media marketing for many brands, email is not as antiquated as many might believe. By delivering highly personalized direct communications to consumers, often through lists that they themselves have signed up for, brands are still able to use this aging medium to effectively communicate deals and information regarding their product.