Email Beats Social Media For Grabbing Consumers' Attention

Most consumers prefer to receive email notifications of ads and special deals, despite the current emphasis on social media marketing campaigns, according to an Econsultancy study.
Despite the current emphasis on social media marketing campaigns, most consumers prefer to receive email notifications of ads and special deals, a new study reports.

In fact, 42% of the 1,4000 respondents polled in the United States would rather get an email notification and 33% prefer a phone call, according to Econsultancy's "How We Shop in 2010" study. Of those polled, 17% like to be told of deals via online chat, 4% prefer traditional snail mail and only 3% prefer a social networking site like Facebook. A mere 1% would opt for microblogging sites such as Twitter, the study found.

It is, however, important for businesses to correctly target email ads. In the study, 53% of users felt irrelevant information devalued email missives and 54% said off-target emails had no special advantage.

"Despite the current hype surrounding social media, social network adoption and its influence on e-commerce is far from maturity. More than a third of consumers (37%) do not use a social networking site, while those who have recently become a 'fan' or 'friend' of a company or brand online are still in the minority," said Stefan Tornquist, Econsultancy's U.S. research director, in a statement.

A large number -- 68% -- of consumers aged 18 to 26 use emailed coupons online, Econsultancy found.

But social networking sites do play an important role in shaping shopping behavior, the report said. Feedback and reviews are especially relevant, with 55% of U.S. respondents stating that high product ratings increase their chance of making a purchase and 56% saying that consumer-generated reviews increase their odds of using an online store, according to the study.

More technologically-savvy users were more likely to heed online reviewers' feedback, Econsultancy determined. Indeed, 45% of so-called "digital sophisticates" had bought something online that they had not planned to buy because of a consumer comment or review, the study said. By comparison, 23% of high-income respondents, 20% of moms and 30% of influencers responded positively to the same question, according to the report. One-fifth of all respondents said they had made an impulse buy because of reviews or comments, the survey showed.