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Is email marketing still relevant in a world full of social networks?

10 April, 2012

According to the latest social media statistics, Twitter now has more than 300 million users and Facebook is close to reaching one billion active accounts. They have both exploded onto the scene, and if you combine Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest into this channel mix, it’s hard to imagine that email marketing will remain the primary source of customer communication in the coming years.

With Facebook being the world’s largest social network, this blog will address the future of email marketing and why social media is becoming more important.

Email’s reputation continues to fall

According to a July 2010 report by, the average open rate of emails in the US dropped from 14% in 2007 to 11.2% in 2009. The fall in reputation is mainly due to huge amounts of spam, unwanted newsletters and promotions.  In fact, 69% of consumers unsubscribe to a mailing list due to over-communicating and 56% due to irrelevant content.

Marketing email by day

Marketing email by day
Consumers can expect to receive promotional material from brands during the weekdays. On average, US Internet users engage with 11.8 brands via email. The following data provides a deeper insight of email usage:

  • 21% of email recipients report email as Spam, even if they know it isn’t
  • 43% of email recipients click the Spam button based on the email “from” name or email address
  • 69% of email recipients report email as Spam based solely on the subject line
  • 30% of subscribers change email addresses annually
  • Subscribers below age 25 prefer SMS to email

Better value per facebook fan

Leading experts have advised that email marketing is still a more dominant force than social media but as we move towards a more social online experience, we care able to draw our own conclusion. The following data supports the increasing value in Facebook fans:

And while unwanted newsletters are often refered to as „spam“, Facebook fans will often „Like“ a brand’s Facebook page and volunteer to receive messages directly.

Online marketing strategies often begin by identifying the audience. In order to be successful, marketers need to focus on where their audience is and the world’s audience is now in social networks.

Facebook has a wider reach and revenue is 240% higher

In December 2009, Hurtigruten launched a newsletter sign up page on As of April 4th, 2012 the number of subscribers has grown to 1421, an average of 1.6 new signups per day. With an average open rate of 45%, we are reaching an audience of approximately 700 people per month.

The Hurtigrtuen ASA Facebook fan page has 22,000+ fans. According to Business Insider, 16% of Facebook fans will see a Hurtigruten post – That’s an audience of 3520 , per day.

Daily referal traffic to the Hurtigruten web for Q1 2012

Daily referal traffic to the Hurtigruten web for Q1 2012

The referal traffic from Facebook was 238% higher than traffic sent from email marketing. The incremental sales value in 2012 from Facebook compared with email marketing is approx. 2.2 million NOK. Including blogs, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest, the social media sales value is approx 3 million NOK.

For many of online marketers, we are able to remember declaring snail mail dead. Email is the past, Facebook and Instant Messaging are the future, and the future is now.

Is email marketing officialy dead? Are you investing more time in social media? Share your suggestions in the comments below or join the discussions on LinkedIn.

References and sources

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