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.
Conclusion
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?

9 thoughts on “Email v Facebook Conversion Rates”

  1. Good article Ivan. Just to share my 2 cents, I believe the most powerful tool is to combine both email and Facebook in your marketing/selling channel. As it stands right now, email appears to convert better than Facebook, but social media is a great way to build relationship and TRUST by following up in more casual ways – just like friends.
    One suggestion is to include social media sharing tools in your promotional emails so it can spread like wildfire. 
    On the other hand, many people integrate email signup form in their Facebook fans page to get more people in the door. I haven’t had phenomenal success using this tactic, but it seems to make sense if you have enough ‘hook’ to draw people in the door.
    Anyhow, I’d say to keep using a proven strategy (email) while exploring a growing phenomenon (Facebook). Hope that helps!

    1. Hi Ken, 
      That’s a good idea. I hand’t thought of adding an email capture form to my Facebook page. 
      I have a slight dilemma which is this…
      If people come to my site and then head over to Facebook, they tend NOT to subscribe to RSS feeds (used to have it, gone now), email etc…
      What I’m trying to do is find a way to encourage them to sign WHEN they like the page. 
      Guy K had a good idea where he offered a free book – or something – if you signed up.
      I might try this and split test it against the blog…
      How about you?
      I have your blog in the RSS reader and saw some posts a while back. You blogging again? Hope so 🙂
      Ivan

  2. This is a good article, Ivan.  I happen to agree with you that Facebook is good for certain limited types of promotions:  one-time events, contests and the like.  But it becomes incredibly annoying to Facebook fans/friends if you are trying deliver all your sales promotions on Facebook.  It shouldn’t be viewed as a direct sales channel for your regular daily sales.
    I wish I had seen this article before our #SMBchat the other night.  We discussed the topic email vs social media.  This would have been a good source to point out.
    – Anita

    1. Hi Anita. 
      I feel the problem for many marketers is… they think in terms of ‘campaigns.’ But, that doesn’t really work on FB.  
      Like you said, I think one needs to be sensitive to one’s location when it come to selling via Facebook. 
      For example, you wouldn’t invite people over for dinner and then try to sell them holidays in Dubai or anti-virus software… but you might show them a good book you’re read or a nice bottle of wine you’ve found. 
      It’s more about timing and recommendations 🙂
      PS – tried to make the chat many times – will get there some day. 

  3. This is a good article, Ivan.  I happen to agree with you that Facebook is good for certain limited types of promotions:  one-time events, contests and the like.  But it becomes incredibly annoying to Facebook fans/friends if you are trying deliver all your sales promotions on Facebook.  It shouldn’t be viewed as a direct sales channel for your regular daily sales.
    I wish I had seen this article before our #SMBchat the other night.  We discussed the topic email vs social media.  This would have been a good source to point out.
    – Anita

  4. One trend that the author missed is that retailers are starting to use the Facebook Platform to enhance their own retail site.  Companies like Amazon, Blue Nile, and Hallmark are using Facebook Connect to provide their customers with more personalized and social features.  This approach makes the most sense since it allows retailers to focus their efforts on improving the experience of their own site, rather than investing time and money into a store that exists within the four walls of Facebook and fragments the online shopping experience.
    My company Snapline (http://www.getsnapline.com) is helping retailers leverage their shoppers Facebook data to provide a better shopping experience on their retail site through features like personalized product recommendations and gift recommendations.  I see these kinds of features becoming much more ubiquitous on retail sites in the next several years.

    1. Interesting product, Todd. 
      Does this mean that Facebook is embedded into the site? 
      Also, what’s the advantage of this over a traditional shopping cart? 
      Site looks v impressive. Need to look at it a bit more. 
      Ivan
       

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