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Email Marketing vs Social Media – Which One is More Valuable for Your Business?

  • On 24/10/2019

There are more than 4.3 billion Internet users in the world and nearly 80% of them have social media accounts. Actually, an average of 5.5 social media accounts. That’s huge!

But, here’s the thing:

Nearly all of them have active email accounts.

So, what’s a smart marketer like you to do? In this post, we’ll share the statistics and forecasts for email marketing vs social media performance from 2016-2019 and beyond.

Let’s jump right in with the question we know you’re thinking…

Advantages & Disadvantages of Social Media

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer your business the chance to connect with very large audiences. Facebook currently has an audience of 2.19 billion people, and Instagram recently celebrated a milestone of 1 billion active users. This means you can expand your reach and grow your audience and connect with them multiple times a day without annoying them. Additionally, you get an immense amount of detail about your audience’s behavior and interests — without having to worry about security or privacy permissions.

However, you can never be too careful with social media. If you say the wrong thing at the wrong time, it can have a devastating effect on your business. Additionally, social media can get expensive when you add in the costs of social management tools and paid advertising.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Email marketing

With email marketing, you can create segmented lists and remarket to customers and run A/B testing to find out what type of messaging works best. Additionally, the ROI of email marketing is higher than any other channel by a landslide.

However, you need to find ways to grow your subscription database. You can have the best emails in the world but they won’t have much value unless you send them to the right people and you have a clear permission to do this. Moreover, with the increased number of recent regulations (CanSpam, GDPR), you can even get in legal trouble if you don’t oblige these rules.

Which one has more users?

The number of users for both email and social media is going to continue to climb. But numbers alone are of little importance to you, right? You want to know who these users are: behaviors, demographics, what motivates them.

Not only does email have the largest user base overall, but it also has the largest user base of any age group.

Of course, age barely begins to scratch the surface of the many ways that your particular customers may use email or social media differently. There are so many ways you can use segmentation to learn about the specific demographics and psychographics that make your customers unique.

Which Drives More Sales?

We know that 60% of consumers sign up for brand emails with the expectation of getting promotional emails in their inbox, but the same can’t be said for the 20% of folks who follow brands on social media.

The truth is, people follow brands on social media but don’t actually want those brands to slide into their DMs.

Deals and discounts are important for driving sales, so where do consumers go to look for them? When people want to find a special deal, email is the go-to channel.

44% of users check their email for a deal from a company they know, whereas only 4% will go to Facebook.

So consumers are totally fine with receiving your promotional emails, and they actually want to find deals in their inbox. But do these promotional emails really work to drive sales?


60% of consumers state that they have made a purchase as the result of a marketing message they received by email.

On the flip side, only 12.5% of them even consider a buy button as a purchase driver on social media.

Here’s the interesting part:

It’s definitely not a fear of purchasing online that creates this hesitation since 93.5% of global internet users have purchased products online.

Plus, just under half of global internet users trust social media for product research. Making the jump from social research to social purchase, however, seems to be a tough nut to crack.

Researchers think that chatbots may be the way to bridge this gap by keeping product research, customer service, and purchasing together in a single place.

Bottom Line: Email marketing is the best way to make sales online. But, you should definitely check out our new ChatBot element (OptinMonster Growth Plan required) to get a jump start on those social purchasing numbers.

Why email newsletters are so valuable?

Before delving into the value of email newsletters, remember that social media helps drive customers to sign up for your newsletters. That symbiotic relationship is part of what makes it so important to continuously optimize both email marketing and social media marketing practices.

When it comes to email marketing vs. social media statistics, email marketing, in general, is still the best way to source leads. Furthermore, email is one of the most effective ways to continuously build customer loyalty. The longer a subscriber stays tuned in to your newsletters, the more invested they’ll be in your brand.

As it turns out, your newsletters can feed traffic right back into social media by embedding your page links in the emails. Statistics aside, as long as you do your best in using both channels, you’ll see more traffic driven to your brand.

You can think of it as a cyclical, holistic system, with each part affecting the others. Your newsletters can affect social media traffic, and vice versa. The key is to maximize both and keep the customers flowing in.

With email newsletters, you can send out effective content like this to reach customers. However, that doesn’t mean you should only focus on email marketing. Instead, you should try to integrate social media and email marketing and make the most out of both channels.

A few more facts

About 60% of internet marketers believe email marketing outperforms social media marketing (Source:

Email campaigns see 50-100 times the click rates of both Facebook or Twitter (Source:

Email marketing is about 10x cheaper than taking out Facebook Ads (Source:

Email has nearly 3x as many user accounts as Facebook and Twitter combined (Source:



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