Email v Facebook Conversion Rates

Should you invest your sales budget in email (old but proven) or Facebook (new and growing)? Research suggests that your budget would be better spent in email marketing than social media. But if we look at the results, different trends emerge that are more encouraging for Facebook marketing. Let’s take a look.

email marketing

Email v Facebook: ECommerce Opportunities

In Forrester Research’s Mulpuru report, “Will Facebook Ever Drive eCommerce?” her firm interviewed nearly two dozen technology vendors, retailers and marketers and found that they received little benefits from Facebook and other social networks.

The results shows that a social-network presence was less effective at customer acquisition and retention than e-mail and paid search.

Email v Facebook Clickthru Rates

  • Facebook metrics are a 1% click-through rate
  • E-mail marketing has an 11% click-through rate

Email v Facebook Conversion Rates

  • Facebook had a 2% conversion rate
  • E-mail had a 4% average conversion rate

Is Email marketing really better than Facebook?

My interpretation of this is as follows:

  • Email marketing is established
  • Consumers are familiar with Email marketing campaigns and respond more positively
  • Email marketing software is more sophisticated after decades of refinement
  • Email marketing software allows you to segment customers in ways Facebook cannot
  • Email marketing campaigns can be scheduled in ways that allow you to acquire customers in different time zones etc
  • Email marketing allows you to upsell other products

This doesn’t mean email marketing is better. Rather it’s been around longer, has evolved in the last ten years, and critically plugs into back office applications.

Facebook can do none of these… yet!

Why Facebook marketing doesn’t work

Facebook’s problem, she said, is that few people go there for shopping-related activities. “You go to Facebook to find other people, not to find a product.”

I’m not sure. I feel that once the tools are there, we’ll start to use it for:

  • Instant purchases
  • Gift giving
  • Donations
  • Special features, e.g. Secure surfing
  • Games

Businesses that run on “flash sales” or limited-time sales are also well suited for Facebook, she said.


Once Facebook starts to integrate into back office applications, such as Oracle, Sap, Salesforce, WebSphere, it can merge data sets with other marketing databases and leverage the results.

Right now, that’s hard to do. But at the rates it’s growing, I anticipate this integration in the near future.

What do you think? Is email really more powerful than social media or do you see a change on the horizon?