E-mail marketing and social media converge

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Bill McCloskey
Bill McCloskey

There is clear evidence that marketers are integrating social media and social media sites at a breathtaking rate of adoption into their overall marketing channel strategy. At this moment there is only anecdotal evidence that social media integration is adding to the overall bottom line and the lack of measurement tools has certain marketers taking a wait and see attitude. But, nevertheless, the growth of links in e-mail marketing campaigns directing customers to the brand's Twitter or Facebook page is staggering. 

In this article we will examine the growth of the 4 major social networking sites – Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn – to see how they fare against each other and themselves when it comes to overall adoption by e-mail marketers. Looking at the growth of links within brands' e-mail campaigns to the four major players in the social media space reveals obvious trends and clear winners when it comes to winning the hearts and minds of the marketers.

As can be seen in the chart, MySpace had an early lead as a consumer based social network destination, and we tracked their first link in an e-mail back to December of 2004. MySpace maintained their lead through the end of 2007 when they were suddenly overtaken by impressive growth in Facebook links starting in first quarter of 2008. Facebook maintained their impressive lead over the competition through the first quarter of 2009 when they were hit with the Twitter tsunami.

As of the end of the second quarter of 2009, Twitter lead Facebook in overall embedded e-mail links by 7%, MySpace by 475%, and Linkedin by 897%. LinkedIn, being the only pure Business to Business play, would be expected to have much fewer links than a consumer focused site. However, looking at their overall growth, they have shown impressive gains both in the first and second quarter of 2009 increasing 93% in Q1 and 43% in Q2. In fact, all social media sites have gained in link percentage since first quarter of 2007: Myspace growing 1,309% over the last 2 ½ years, LinkedIn 10,265%, Twitter 297,175% and Facebook an outstanding 370,106%.

But clearly Twitter currently has the great momentum growing 388% in Q1 2009 (over last quarter of 2008) and 214% in Q2 2009, compared to Facebook's growth during the same period of 65% (Q1 2009) and 122% (Q2).

All data is based on e-mails recorded and archived by Email Data Source since 2004.

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