Email Marketing is More Valuable than Facebook & Twitter

Read on to learn more...

By Miva | July 16, 2013
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For years, we have heard about the importance of a brand’s presence on social media.  Article after article remind us how imperative social media is for businesses.

It has been widely accepted that social media is more than just a craze; it provides an incredible platform to engage new customers through brand interaction.  So, Facebook and Twitter must be the most valuable marketing channels for your business to successfully sell online, right?  Actually, there may be another channel that is far more valuable in increasing sales and acquiring customers, and it’s been right in front of you all along.

The hype of social media could be overshadowing the power of an old, trusted marketing tool: Email.

Customer acquisition trends reflect that social media has taken center stage as businesses find ways to gain more customers across a larger variety platforms, placing less and less importance on email marketing.  A new report released by Custora shows that businesses have been missing out on the real value of Email because they have been so focused on trying to generate customers through Facebook and Twitter.

E-Commerce Customer Acquisition Snapshot

In a study of over 72 million customers and 86 US retailers across 14 different industries, Custora found that customer acquisition via email has quadrupled over the past 4 years.  Meanwhile, Organic search remains the most reliable channel, accounting for nearly 16% of customers acquired.  Cost per Click (CPC) followed Organic search at 10%.  Of course, Google has something to do with these high percentages.  The percentage of customers acquired by email has grown from 0.88% to 6.84% since 2009 and is projected to keep climbing the charts.  Combined, Facebook and Twitter accounted for less than 1% of total customer acquisitions.

Acquisition channel growth chart
Image: Custora

E-Commerce Customer Lifetime Value by Channel

Custora also measured the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) of the customers acquired on each channel.  Essentially, what this measured was the projected profit that businesses can expect to earn over the period of two years following their first interaction with their brand.

The most valuable customers come from Organic Search and CPC.  This means that customers who find a brand by Search are the most likely to shop more and spend more.  Customers acquired via email are 12% more valuable than average during the two years following their first click.  The research also showed that Twitter customers were 23% less valuable than average, likely due to the high speed of the platform.

This is not to say that Facebook and Twitter should be dismissed, but rather to say that their value is centered more on brand interaction and brand identity than actually acquiring sales.  It is still very important for businesses to be present on these social media platforms in order to be taken seriously in the world of ecommerce.

Grapho with customer lifetime value by channel
Image: Custora

Harness the Power of Email Marketing

Of all of these channels, Email is by far the cheapest and easiest channel for businesses to acquire more sales and long-term customers.  Email campaigns are a great way to target new subscribers with promotional offers.

According to a similar study by SocialTwist, Email results in more new customers, accounting for over 50% of new visitors referred by friends.

Email has the power to turn a first time visitor into an interested buyer, and a current customer into a long-term brand advocate.  Don’t forget to harness the power of this great tool for your business in the midst of the constant influx of new social channels.

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Author's Bio


Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.

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