How Are Email, Facebook and Twitter Audiences Different? - eMarketer

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How Are Email, Facebook and Twitter Audiences Different?

Understanding consumers’ communication preferences

July 23, 2010

With marketers engaging with consumers across multiple channels, messages must be tailored to resonate with audiences on email and social sites. But research suggests a look at simple demographics does not give a clear indication of how audiences differ; engagement in these channels is personal and depends more on psychographic characteristics.

According to ExactTarget’s “Subscribers, Fans and Followers” report, there is little cannibalization among the three channels—instead, there is significant overlap. Most internet users studied in April 2010 engaged with brands only via marketing emails, but nearly a third subscribed to emails in addition to being fans of brands on Facebook. The vast majority of social media fans or followers were also email subscribers.

Marketing Email Subscribers, Facebook Fans and Twitter Followers, Apr 2010 (% of US internet users)

“Consumers don’t silo their engagement with brands to a single channel, instead they tend to ‘layer’ marketing channels on top of one another to meet their different objectives,” said Morgan Stewart, principal, ExactTarget’s research and education group, in a statement.

Overall, 94% of daily email users subscribed to marketing messages. Two-thirds of daily Facebook users were brand fans, and about four in 10 daily Twitter users followed a company or brand, showing that email is still the preferred channel for brand engagement even among heavy users of social media sites.

Users also engage with a greater number of brands via email.

Average Number of Brands US Internet Users Engage with via Email, Facebook or Twitter, Apr 2010

But analyzed psychographically, ExactTarget found different patterns of engagement. Email appeals to just about everybody. Groups that had the greatest focus on becoming fans of brands on Facebook tended to be younger, but also shared a motivation for entertainment and the ability to publicly show support for brands. The report suggests using Facebook for both informative and entertaining communications would be most effective.

Twitter appeals most to consumers who want to feel up to date and in the know, suggesting information about new products and services or other brand initiatives would be of interest.

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Check out today’s other article, “Empowered Consumers Seek and Share Health Info Online.”


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