Digital Marketing News – Is Email Really Dead?


Email Vs. Social Media

The world according to Mark Zuckerberg is one where email is no more and replaced by messenger services such as Facebook.

While it’s true that we now have more choice when it comes to our preferred method of communication, this doesn’t mean that email no longer has a place. In fact the use of email has grown significantly over the past few years.

According to a report produced by Royal Pingdom early this year, 107 trillion emails were sent in total during 2010. There were almost 2bn email users and 3bn email accounts, this figure growing by 500m. Given this last figure was Facebook’s total user base at the time; it seems unlikely that social messenger tools will outstrip such a popular form of communication.

While I’m sure that Facebook messenger is extremely popular, I can’t see how it in any way works as a replacement for email. Perhaps considering the user base this data was extracted from could give an indication of how skewed it might be.

But Zuckerburg isn’t the first to make such a claim, with many of his predecessors also proclaiming the end of email and yet it appears to be thriving better than ever.

Perhaps considering email as just one tool alongside many others, all of which have their place and function within our suite of marketing channels, is the preferred alternative. Email is still a vital part of our everyday lives, and if I had to chose between social and email I’d probably be waving farewell to my networks long before I considered doing without email.

But do we really have to choose? Surely email and social media together make a great team and the creative use of both can lead to a strong overall campaign message.

While social media can be great for raising a brand’s profile, most consumers still respond better to offers made in an email. In this sense, social media is the tool that acts to warm up the audience with email coming in to close the deal. A perfect combination in any marketers eyes surely.

Like anything, email must evolve to remain relevant and we may well start to see some more social elements in its function. However I can’t imagine a world where I carry out my business transactions through Facebook Messenger or MSN chat or ask my bank to IM me each month with my statements.

Email is more formal, more practical and allows me to keep my work and personal life separate to a certain extent. If I want to make a good first impression I have a specific email address I will use above all others and I never let anyone into my personal social space who I only know professionally.

Perhaps this attitude is outdated and is being replaced by the next generation who think nothing of living their entire lives in the public domain. But I think for the most part we see social as just that and email as our default choice for exchanging information.

Abi Clowes, Head of Marketing at Pure360 says “I totally agree with Felice. As a marketer I see social as another channel to send messages through – no different to mobile or email, it’s great that it expands our reach and allows us to target the person not just the title or consumer.

As Pure360, we are seeing huge growth in the number of emails sent out each month, certainly not a decline. We’re talking 3 billion emails being sent a year. In addition we’ve taking steps to better integrate email and social campaigns so people can send their messages regardless of channel.”

And before the Mark Zuckerburgs of this world start heralding the death of email too loudly, let’s not forget that every social network platform requires an email before you can sign up.

To find out more about getting the best out of your email marketing, take a look at Target Internet’s Email Marketing Best Practice guide.

The Pure360 website has some great resources, check out Abi’s Pure360 Guide to the Ideal Email Campaign

Written by Felice Ayling

Editor: NO NO NO. EMAIL ISNT DEAD. My favourite point on this that you can’t open a Facebook account without an email address. Sigh. 🙂

Interested in Digital Marketing Elearning - Start Free 30 Day Trial >