More Consumers Use Email than SocNets for Brand Interaction

June 11, 2010

More online consumers use email than social networks for brand interaction, according to a new study from digital marketing firms ExactTarget and CoTweet.

Nine in 10 Online Consumers Get Daily Permission-based Email
Data from the “Daily Morning” report indicates that 93% of online consumers aged 15 and older receive at least one permission-based email per day, putting them into the category of “subscribers.” Broken down by age demographic, 15-to-17-year-olds are subscribers at a significantly lower rate (68%). All other age brackets of online consumers aged 18 and older are subscribers at rates between 93% and 96%.


Four in 10 Online Consumers are Fans on Facebook
Thirty-eight percent of online consumers are fans of at least one company or brand on Facebook, placing them in the “fans” category. There is a much wider variance by age demographic in this category than in the subscribers category. Eighteen-to-24-year-olds are fans at the highest percentage (54%), while the lowest percentage of online consumers aged 65 and older are fans (11%). Twenty-five-to-40-year-olds are also fans at a significantly higher-than-average rate (47%), while 55-to-64-year-olds are fans at a significantly lower-than-average rate (20%).

Only 5% of Online Consumers are Twitter Followers
Only 5% of online consumers are followers of at least one company or brand on Twitter. This percentage rises to its highest rate among 18-to-24-year-olds (9%) and falls to it lowest rate among 65 and older (0%).

Six in 10 Online Consumers Start Day with Email
A majority of online consumers (58%) start their day by checking email, and 88% of online consumers check email at least once per day. Another 20% of online consumers start their day on an online search engine or portal, and 11% begin on Facebook. Much smaller percentages start their day on a news site, their company’s website, or other site/online resource.


ExactTarget analysts advise that email-first consumers are looking for product information more than social interaction with a brand, while Facebook-first consumers are looking for entertainment and social interaction. However, Facebook users are more likely than email users to share product information with others, often through email.

Improving Social Media Communications
Because 43% of all online consumers are either fans or followers, ExactTarget advises that brand marketers must not only know where to establish a social media presence, but how to communicate with consumers once there. The company recommends balancing entertainment, information and deals in social media communications, cross-promoting programs across different social media platforms and email, aligning cross-platform promotional tone and content, and blending messages to appeal to multiple age demographics.

Timing is Critical in Email Campaigns
Timing in an email marketing campaign, that is, deciding on what day and what time of day, to hit the send button is as important as actually crafting the message and selecting which segmented group of customers will receive it, according to social network Gather.

The overall consensus from numerous studies show that mail sent on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays has the best chance of being opened, according to Gather. But more thought should go into a send decision than that, Gather said.

For example, Monday is a good day because after a long weekend, many email users make it a priority to organize their inboxes. “This means there is a good chance that they will run across your message and open it,” according to a recent Gather blog post.

About the Data: This study was conducted in two phases. Phase I occurred in March 2010, with 44 people participating in three different types of focus groups: a moderated 3-day online discussion board, 90-minute real-time chat room discussions, and 90-minute video focus groups using webcams. Phase II was fielded from April 9-13, 2010 through a MarketTools TrueSample online panel and completed by 1,506 US respondents, aged 15 and older, and stratified by age so that each age bracket contained no less than 200 responses.

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