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Email still tops social media for online marketing, study says

Posting in Technology

Over the past couple of years, in a world drenched with talk about the communicative power of social networks, one can be forgiven for thinking email is as passe as phone booths. Yet, a new study finds that email continues to trump social media channels for reaching online customers and markets.

Photo credit: Joe McKendrick

Good old-fashioned email -- a medium tainted and polluted with all manner of online pharmacy scams, Nigerian oil fortune hoaxes, and phishing galore; considered a daily time sink -- is still providing the biggest bang for the buck for organizations seeking to reach and maintain high-value customers.  That's the finding of a new study from Custora, which estimates that customer acquisition via email has quadrupled over the last four years:

"Email marketing has been a growing trend in e-commerce, with an increasing number of retailers building communities and collecting email addresses, then converting those 'members' into customers. Organic search continues to grow as a reliable channel, (accounting for nearly 16% of customers acquired) reinforcing efforts to complement products with relevant and informative editorial content along with investing in search engine marketing."

Email also carries a higher customer lifetime value (the future profit a company expects to earn from a customer throughout his or her relationship with the business) than social media channels. Email delivers a CLV about 12 percent higher than the average -- versus Facebook with one percent and Twitter at 23 percent  below the average return.

Custora's findings are derived from data spanning 72 million customers from 86 U.S. retailers across 14 industries.

— By on July 1, 2013, 1:11 AM PST

Joe McKendrick

Contributing Editor

Joe McKendrick is an independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. He is a co-author of the SOA Manifesto and has written for Forbes, ZDNet and Database Trends & Applications. He holds a degree from Temple University. He is based in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure