Email results in more shares, conversions… And is still good value

When justifying the time and effort that goes into email marketing, it’s always good to have a few stats on your side. It’s likely you’ve heard some of the big reasons (like its return of $40.56 for every $1 invested in 2011), however in a world that’s still social media mad, there’s two stats that show that email is still on top, being sharing and conversion rates.

‘Forward to a friend’ the most common share method

“A food delivery service gets 70% of its shares through email and another 15% via Facebook.”
- Social Sharing: Twitter has highest amplification rate, email has highest conversion rate

While Twitter and Facebook may be where many consider social sharing to be at, email dominates social referrals.

MarketingSherpa’s blog reported on this in, ‘Social Sharing: Twitter has highest amplification rate, email has highest conversion rate’, which reflected on the experiences of a recent referral program by Extole, a consumer-to-consumer social marketing company. The study found that Extole customers who participated in the referral program shared with almost three and a half friends on average, with most of those shares occurring via email.

For us, this isn’t unusual behavior. For example, here’s a snippet from the social sharing reports following our most recent monthly newsletter, sent to over 130,000 subscribers:

Social sharing report

Despite featuring equally prominent Twitter and Facebook share links, 83% of shares were via the ‘Forward to a friend’ link in the campaign. This means that subscribers were over six times more likely to share the campaign via email, versus Twitter and Facebook combined!

Email results in more conversions

What’s important to many business owners is not so much how many clicks an email or tweet generates, but how many of these result in actual conversions, let they be a sale, an opt-in or a coupon redemption. Again, email rules. Based on the same Extole study, email shares resulted in a “21% open rate, 80% clickthrough and 17% conversion (the highest conversion rate of any channel), which breaks down to .17 clicks per share.” This is impressive, considering that Facebook had a conversion rate of only 1.21% and the overall average clickthrough rate for social referral programs using Twitter, Facebook, personal URL and email combined was 42%. Or as Angela from Extole noted, “We’ve always known that word-of-mouth marketing was very powerful, and converted at an estimated three to five times higher rates than other channels”.


The great news is that it’s easy to add social sharing to your email campaigns, let it be a ‘Forward to a friend’ link, or Like / Tweet button for Facebook and Twitter respectively. Here’s our walkthrough on adding sharing to campaigns… Or you can add your own links on the fly to templates via the email editor.

Many thanks to MarketingSherpa for sharing their study with us. What have your experiences been with social sharing? Why do you think email trumps Facebook and Twitter? Let us know in the comments below.

Posted by Ros Hodgekiss

1 Comment

  • Nicolas Chevallier
    4th May

    Very good article. I totally agree, we talk a lot (too) social networks and are buried too quickly the email that used more widely and much more efficient!

Sign up for free.
Then send campaigns for as little as $9/month

Create an account