Facebook for show, email for dough

It’s difficult to find a web page now that isn’t littered with three to four hundred social icons linking through to a combination of dormant accounts and redirects back to the homepage. Still, just having them looks good, right?

No, it looks ridiculous, and may go some way towards explaining why despite all the excitement over social in the last 5 years, email marketing continues to outperform all the major social platforms to an almost embarrassing degree. You see, when someone has an email list, they don’t have it because it’s a fancy badge they can stick on their website. They have it because it’s making money.

A report just released by the marketing data firm Custora, analysed 72 million customers shopping on 86 different retail sites over the last four years, and found that far from declining in impact as seems to be the general feeling amongst marketers, the rate of customer acquisition through email marketing has actually quadrupled to nearly 7%. What’s more, Facebook seems to have plateaued at less than 0.2%, while things look even bleaker for poor Twitter, barely registering any impact at all with a consistent annual contribution of under 0.01%. Furthermore, the CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) of Twitter is 23% lower than average, indicating that even for those occasional tweets that do successfully promote a product, the relationship is over before it’s begun.

Clearly Facebook and Twitter, when used right, are extremely powerful tools and absolutely should be part of your marketing mix. It is also worth mentioning that they have a critical role to play in brand development, customer service and reputation management, all considerations the report largely overlooked. However, the process of developing and maintaining a brand is an expensive one and the money has to come from somewhere. For many businesses, particularly those in retail, email marketing is and will continue to be the cash cow that makes that entire process viable.

For the full report, click here.

Dan