Consumers Engage Differently on Email and Social Media - eMarketer

Newsletters Sign-Up

Plans & Pricing

Does My Company Subscribe?

Consumers Engage Differently on Email and Social Media

Discounts and offers drive participation, but social media followers also want to show support

April 4, 2012

Consumers connect with brands both via email lists and by “liking” companies on Facebook. While users want to receive discounts and special offers via both channels, connecting with a brand on social media is an added public display of support.

Chadwick Martin Bailey analyzed why consumers engage via email and Facebook and found that receiving discounts and special offers was the top motivation. Of the US respondents who had an email account, 58% cited that as a reason for subscribing to email lists. Other reasons for email participation included taking part in a specific promotion (39%) and because the consumer was a customer or supporter of the business or nonprofit (37%).

Reasons US Email Users Subscribe to Emails from a Business or Nonprofit, Q4 2011 (% of respondents)

On Facebook, the desire to receive discounts and special offers was also the top reason for “liking” a brand, but it was only cited by 41% of US Facebook users, a smaller percentage of respondents than those that subscribed to email lists for the same reason. Additionally, 25% of respondents said they “like” a business or nonprofit’s Facebook page because they want to show their support, and 22% said they wanted to also demonstrate their support to others on Facebook.

Reasons US Facebook Users

Both email and Facebook can be great ways to connect with customers and supporters of a business or nonprofit. Email lists have their benefits, including the ability to have a database of contact information of supporters or customers, but with Facebook, there is the added advantage that the consumer is publicly showing support via a social recommendation. A 2011 study from 8thBridge found that consumers most often “like” a retailer on Facebook because they purchased a product and liked it; they then used Facebook to provide a straightforward recommendation for friends to see.

It still holds that consumers want discounts and deals when they connect with a business or nonprofit via email or Facebook. But, especially as consumers live more of their lives on social networks, connecting to a business or nonprofit on Facebook is not only about promotions, but a way to show public support for preferred businesses and nonprofits.

Corporate subscribers have access to all eMarketer analyst reports, articles, data and more. Join the over 750 companies already benefiting from eMarketer’s approach. Learn more.

Check out today’s other articles, “Spotify Makes Ad Impressions Count” and “Online Ads in Brazil Rise in Step with Time Spent Online.”


  • Go beyond the articles:

    eMarketer Products

    You've never experienced research like this.

  • Hear from our clients:

    Customer Stories

    Nearly all Fortune 500 companies rely on us.

  • Want to learn more?

    Contact Us

    Inquire about corporate subscriptions today.