Social Media vs Email: Hype vs Reality?
It is a norm that most online retailers out there have at least 2 or 3 social media accounts, at least on Facebook plus Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc.
As an online retailer, have you ever monitored, or at least wondered how well your social media channels perform for your e-commerce site?
We are talking about below-the-line (BTL) communications here rather than social media as acquisition channels.
Email vs Facebook (and Twitter)
Email is always the best BTL channel for e-commerce in most cases. Let's investigate whether this is true.
In ecommerce.milo, we always promote our content via email and social media channels, namely Facebook and Twitter. Bear in mind that our case study here is more on B2B rather than B2C like most online retail out there, however it shouldn't be too much difference in the context of content marketing.
Here, we pick one of the articles that we have published recently: eCommerce potential in Southeast Asia, through the eyes of Taiwanese.
As usual, we send out email newsletter to our subscribers whenever we have new article published.
Subscribe to our newsletter if you haven't done so, rest assured that we will not flood your mailbox daily, just 1 or 2 email(s) weekly. We are also sending out exclusive invites to e-commerce events via email.
This is the performance of our email newsletter:
Out of 1,262 email subscribers, 318 or 25.3% have opened our email. Do take note that average email open rate for e-commerce industry is 22.2%.
The click rate of the email we sent on this topic is 38 or 3.0%, you should aim for higher click rate for your B2C emails with attractive deals and call-to-actions in the email content.
How about Facebook?
We promoted this article on our Facebook page with about 13,000 fans.
Out of 13,000 Facebook fans, 490 or 3.77% have seen the post organically (without any Promoted Page Post). According to the a research done in December 2013, less than 3% of your Facebook fans will see your updates.
How about the click-through rate?
We have used Bitly to measure the clicks (view the link performance here) and 76 or 0.58% have actually clicked on the links via our Facebook post.
For the record, we have also promoted the article via our Twitter account and guest what? Only 2 clicks are registered from 150 of our Twitter followers. The click rate at 1.33% is at least better than 0.58% via our Facebook post though.
Conclusion: Focus on your performance BTL channels
The case study above is just a reference, as email has proved to be the best BTL communication channel at least for us at ecommerce.milo.
Open rate of our email communication is 25.3%, way much better than the "seen rate" of our Facebook post at 3.77%. Click-through rate of email is 3.0% which is marginally better than 0.58% of Facebook. Another metrics that you should put into this picture is the conversion rate for your e-commerce website.
Of course, we can argue that Facebook fans acquisition could be at lower cost plus email subscribers are "more loyal".
However, that's not the point here to argue which channel is better, or we should just focus on email and abandon the social media channels. If email is a proven channel for you, your focus should be growing your email subscribers and improving the email content, the same goes to other channels.
It is more on realizing effectiveness vs hype, and focusing on the communication channel that brings the best result for your business.
What say you?