Browse by...
Home Resources Knowledge Base

Digital marketers have been debating for years whether email or social media is a better way to reach customers. Both channels have their unique advantages, but trying to determine which is the best isn’t always easy.

It depends on a few significant factors, including your overall goals, content, and audience.

Before deciding which tool is best for your business, you need to understand how both channels are different and how they should be used in your digital marketing.

Email marketing is more targeted and personal.

Email is best used to create a personal connection and relationship with your leads and customers. You can easily segment your contact list into various groups to send customized and dynamic messages with a human touch. Plus, since you’re emailing people who’ve opted in, you’re already dealing with a somewhat engaged audience.

According to our research, email open rates are generally around 25%, with click-through rates at 3%. On the other hand, only about 6% of Facebook users will see a post on your timeline. Emails are more effective at driving engagement and attracting new leads.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt that there are about 4 billion email users in the world, so there’s a good chance your leads and customers are among them.

Social media casts a wider net.

Social media marketing is more of a free-for-all. Unlike email, where you need permission to send, your social media messages can be seen by anyone. Social media is a great tool to engage with existing customers, but your overall viewership will be smaller. To get your message in front of new people, you likely need to boost posts and spend money.

Even though fewer people might see your content, social media is a powerful influencer in purchasing decisions. PwC found that 37% of people named social media as the most inspirational when making purchase decisions—nearly twice as high as email.

How to measure if email is better than social media

You use different metrics to determine success for email compared to social media. Emails are generally measured in opens and click-through rates. Social media is usually tracked by impressions, shares, new followers, and clicks.

The one metric you can use to compare both channels is your return on investment (ROI).

You’ll look at the amount you made from a campaign and subtract the amount you spent. Then you divide that number by your spend and multiply by 100 to get your ROI percentage.

Does it really matter?

It’s essential to understand which channels will work best for your audience, so you can make an informed decision about your digital marketing strategy. In some instances, email might be the best bet for your audience. However, you might find a case where social media is working better.

The best strategy is to use social media and email together in your campaigns. TheSkimm used Facebook to create a lead form for newsletter signups. As a result, lead quality improved by 22%.

The best strategy is to use social media and email together in your campaigns. TheSkimm used Facebook to create a lead form for newsletter signups. As a result, lead quality improved by 22%.

Source: Facebook

You can also use email to drive customers to your social channels with UGC and hashtag campaigns.

What now?

At this point, you should have a better understanding of the benefits of email marketing and social media marketing. It’s up to each individual marketer to decide how to use email and social media in their digital marketing campaigns.

The most important thing you can do now is to try to run campaigns that seamlessly integrate elements from each platform. If you need inspiration or some ideas of where to start, you should learn more about using social media to build prospect lists.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
Straight to your inbox

Get the best email and digital marketing content delivered.

Join 250,000 in-the-know marketers and get the latest marketing tips, tactics, and news right in your inbox.

Subscribe

Get started with Campaign Monitor today.

With our powerful yet easy-to-use tools, it's never been easier to make an impact with email marketing.

Try it for free