web analytics

Internet Marketing: Email Is Crushing Facebook and Twitter

balance of IMIn the year of 2013, if a company has not yet been on Facebook or Twitter, it can’t expect to be taken seriously. Marketing consultants also advise all kinds of businesses to “get” social because if not, they may risk becoming like companies one century ago that did not think they needed telephones.

Although online marketing is always inevitably clinging to the newfangled, it is relatively antique tech that seems to be far more efficient for selling things online. A new report from Custora, a marketing data outfit, found that over the past four years, Internet retailers have quadrupled the rate of customers acquired by email to nearly 7 percent.

Over the same period, Facebook barely registers as a way to sell stuff, and the tiny portion of people who do connect and purchase over Facebook has stayed flat. In the meanwhile, Twitter doesn’t register at all. According to the repost, the most popular way to get customers so far is “organic search”, followed by “cost per click” ads.

 Acquisition channel change

The above image was presented by Custora, after analyzing data from 72 million customers shopping on 86 different retailer sites. Customers were tracked about where they were clicking from (Google, Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.) and what and how much they purchased, not just on a single visit, but for the following two years.

Over those two years, Custora discovered that customers who went to the retailers from search were more than 50 percent more valuable than average. In another word, these customers were more likely to buy things online and spend more money. Customers clicking from email were about 11 percent more valuable than average. Facebook customers were just about the average. While, Twitter customers, were 23 percent less valuable than the average.

 “I would not necessarily say that Twitter is inherently an unideal way to do online marketing, but we haven’t seen many good Twitter strategies now,” says Aaron Goodman, lead data scientist at Custora. He notes that Twitter marketing campaigns is now prone to rely on the chancy possibility that someone runs across a deal when they are dipping into their feed. Even if they do see the deal, it will disappear in seconds.

 customer lifetime value

On the other hand, email has a certain inborn advantage: if shoppers are getting the emails, they have already given their addresses to a site, so they have already got some prior relationship with the retailer. Despite of the avalanche of spams we get every day, it is still easy to see how the staying power and greater potential for personalization of a medium with no “140-character limit” provides email with distinct advantages.

Custora’s results might not be a good news for social media businesses, particularly Twitter. Certainly, ads on Twitter and Facebook don’t need to lead to immediate clicks to have an impact. Still, they have the potential to raise ambient awareness. By contrast, it is found that Google’s ads do lead not only to clicks but also to purchases, suggesting Google’s ads have high “conversions”—the holy grail of online marketing.

Google had a roughly 10-year head start to turn search into sales. It is not difficult to imagine that in a decade, social media will play more important role in selling stuff. For instance, Twitter’s “product cards” offers a very direct way for it to act as a storefront. Retailers probably should not abandon social media yet. But if they had to make a choice, the old-timey mailing list might trump tweets for a very long time to come.

Source: Wired