Statisticians have been busy at work analyzing the impact of email, mobile devices and social networking on consumer buying habits. Like trying to capture lightning in a bottle, they’re trying to pinpoint the value of these mediums’ influence on consumers and their purchasing.
Brand interaction through email
Ninety-seven percent of the U.S. population has a personal email account, according to a survey conducted by e-Dialog, an email marketing service provider. Results found that consumers are primarily using their email to access messages sent initially to their social networking and mobile device email accounts.
e-Dialog queried 13,000 consumers’ attitudes to digital marketing in 13 countries in Europe, the United States and the Asia Pacific.
Although accessing messages on social email and mobile email accounts is much lower -- 37 percent and 34 percent, respectively -- they still have the potential to be valuable marketing tools, it said.
Also, 56 percent of U.S. consumers own a social networking email account, and 78 percent of consumers said they prefer to get new product marketing information via email, e-Dialog reported.
When consumers were asked if they had ever purchased a product or service based on a mobile text promotion, 14 percent of U.S. consumers reported that they had, 34 percent had not, and 52 percent said they just never give out their mobile number.
While interest doesn’t always equal action, e-Dialog analysts underscored the need for marketers to employ relevant empowering techniques including segmentation and testing to drive profitable subscriber behavior.
Stats from a study by digital marketing firms ExactTarget and CoTweet seem to support this assertion. They found more U.S. online consumers use email than social networks for brand interaction. Data indicates that 93 percent of online consumers aged 15 and older receive at least one permission-based email per day, putting them into the category of “subscribers.”
Broken down by age demographic, 15-to-17-year-olds are subscribers at a significantly lower rate -- 68 percent. All other age brackets of online consumers aged 18 and older are subscribers at rates between 93 percent and 96 percent. In contrast, 38 percent of online consumers are fans of at least one company or brand on Facebook, placing them in the “fans” category, while only 5 percent follow a brand on Twitter.
Social networking’s influence
According to a recent Harris Poll, reviews on social networks influence 45 percent of all online U.S. adults and 50 percent of those aged 18-34. When asked how much reviews from friends or people they follow on social networking websites influence their decision to use or not use a particular company, brand or product, 45 percent of online adults said they have a great deal or fair amount of influence.
Broken down by age demographic, social network reviews are most influential on 18-to-34-year-olds at 50 percent. This percentage drops with each advancing age group, hitting its lowest rate – 37 percent -- among adults 55 and older.
Consumers have become accustomed to using email as a way of engaging with brands, mainly to obtain promotions and deals, as well as engage in customer communications.
According to a study by ExactTarget and CoTweet, the Internet has simplified price and promotion shopping, and 82 percent of consumers will search a variety of online channels to obtain deals and promotions. For the majority of consumers, they begin their search by checking a particular brand’s corporate website. More than three in four consumers (76 percent) will initially seek deals and promotions on a brand’s website, and from there, 62 percent will sign up to receive email, while 54 percent will use a search engine.
Meanwhile, 17 percent of consumers will also include Facebook as part of their search for ongoing deals, and 3 percent will search for deals on Twitter. Women are more likely than men to sign up for emails (67 percent compared to 57 percent), and older consumers are also more likely to sign up for emails to get ongoing deals.
Millennials, who range in age from 15 to 24, are twice as likely to subscribe to email in their search for ongoing deals (56 percent) as they are to search for deals on Facebook (28 percent).
More than nine in 10, or 93 percent, of U.S. online consumers are subscribers, meaning they receive at least one permission-based commercial email message on a typical day. The average consumer receives 44 daily emails (including commercial and personal), and half of consumers receive fewer than 25 per day.
Of those 44 daily emails, about 25 percent are permission-based commercial messages, with the remaining 75 percent comprised of personal messages, transactional messages and spam.
ExactTarget research found that 49 percent of consumers “always” open emails from their “favorite” companies, compared to only 16 percent who say they never open email.
A recent study by GetResponse, an email marketing technology firm, said including social media links in promotional emails improves their click-through rate (CTR).
On average, its research found that promotional emails sent by small-to-mid-sized business marketers with links to at least one social network have a 9.4 percent CTR, while promotional emails without any social network links have a 7.2 percent CTR. As a result, promotional emails including social network links generate an average CTR 30 percent higher than those without.
Broken down by specific social network, Twitter offers the highest CTR at 10.2 percent, followed by Facebook at 9.1 percent, according to GetResponse’s findings. Digg offers the lowest CTR -- 5.3 percent -- of major social networks, meaning messages with Twitter links are almost twice as effective at generating CTR as messages with Digg links, but only 12 percent more effective than messages with Facebook links.