Email subscribers far outnumber social media followers: survey

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Brands' email subscribers outnumber their Facebook “likes” by an average ratio of 70-to-1, according to a survey conducted by email marketing and automation firm Silverpop. The survey of more than 500 Silverpop clients also found that the average ratio of email subscribers to Twitter followers is 90-to-1.

However, only 10% of marketers include an email opt-in mechanism on their branded Facebook pages, the study found. Only 38% of marketers said they plan to add an email opt-in to their Facebook page, and 22% said they have no plans to do so, according to the survey.

Yet despite the slim number of respondents planning to expand their email opt-in strategy to Facebook, Loren McDonald, VP of industry relations at Silverpop, said the survey's results indicate that email is a viable marketing communications channel.

“Don't tell me consumers don't like email,” he said. “One of the key takeaways from the survey is the opportunity to take advantage of [separate digital marketing channels] to grow each other…It's not a zero-sum game.”

McDonald described three common reasons why marketers do not include an opt-in on their Facebook pages. For one, they may not own the brand's Facebook page or may not have a “tightly integrated” marketing department. They also may not want to turn off Facebook fans by asking them to opt-in to receive emails, or they don't know how to include an opt-in mechanism on their page, he said.

Facebook isn't the only digital marketing channel that many brands neglect when building out their email database. Only 4% of marketers have an email opt-in mechanism in their SMS programs, according to the study.

McDonald added that it's a “no-brainer” that brands can grow their email lists via other channels, such as SMS, but many underestimate the role of mobile messaging in their marketing mix.

“A lot of marketers are in their 30s and 40s and don't necessarily live on SMS the way teens and twenty-somethings do. So part of [the aversion to SMS] may be there's a bias or lack of recognition that a lot of people actually like SMS,” he said.

Silverpop surveyed more than 500 clients in April for the “Silverpop Mocial Survey: How Companies Are Using Social, Mobile, Local and Email.”

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