Email Is The New Social

PARK CITY, Utah – A recurring theme at this week’s MediaPost Email Insider Summit: social is the new email. There is a frisson of excitement about social media, but email marketers say they have been connecting people effectively for years.

“We call email the original social network because it really is social,” said Tynt CEO Derek Ball in a keynote address. “If you follow the popular media today, you would believe that the world revolves around what they deem social -- which means Twitter, Facebook, and other things, which have social components to them.”

Social media is an important marketing platform for sure, he said, but “email is still a very, very critical component and will be for a long time.” 

Ball offered data from March 2010 that shows 73% of sharing was happening on email, 25% on Facebook and 2% on Twitter. That has since changed markedly. Now, Facebook represents 69% of sharing and email represents 27%. But Ball said email marketers should not be unnerved.

“This initially sounds ominous,” he said. “This sounds like Facebook is cannibalizing email … [but] sharing as a whole has gone up massively in 18 months … so in fact, sharing via email has gone up a little over 20% in 18 months, so email is continuing to grow. It’s just that Facebook grew faster -- much faster.”

Ball said marketers should look for ways to synchronize email and social media. “Recognize the two of them are very important together,” he said.  

Tynt is a digital advertising company with clients such as Seventeen and the G4 network.

Also in his keynote, Ball offered five reasons why email maintains an advantage over social. It’s “asynchronous,” meaning time is not necessarily of the essence. A received email waits for the recipient in an in-box.

Email is more personal than, say, Facebook or Twitter. Ball referred to them as “broadcast platforms,” while “most of what comes into your email is very personal and tuned to you.” Email is also very trackable, with data on open rates and other behaviors, while it is “infinitely flexible” -- there is no need to build a following or “friend” people or join a group.

And, Ball noted, it is “decentralized.” There is no big brother -- no one controlling force. Facebook may change a rule and frustrate millions. Email has no rules.

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