Email Smashes Facebook Again, With 4x More Retail Reach

The figures are in -- and as usual, it's very good news for email. In research by Zeta Global, three in four -- or 74% -- UK Internet users have revealed that they receive retailer offers via email. You might imagine it would be closer to 100%, but the dominance of the channel becomes clear when its rivals' figures are examined.

Direct Mail and Facebook are neck and neck in second and third place, but with just 19% and 18% of users. Yes, less than a fifth of UK adults say they get direct mail or Facebook advertising from retail brands. And when you do the number crunching, that means email has four times the reach of either channel. Interestingly, it has nearly five times the reach of digital display -- or probably more accurately, display retargeting -- which only has a reach of 14%. SMS was mentioned by just 10% of UK adults.

Now, the figures are obviously open to interpretation because it's difficult to imagine that only 15% of UK adults have been retargeted through display. It will pretty much be a daily or at least a weekly occurrence for anyone who regularly searches for products online. The interesting thing here is that this is effectively a recall study. Machines are not measuring exposure -- people are being asked to say which channels they regularly receive information through, and that can obviously mean downplaying one channel against another if it is not front of mind for a consumer.

Perhaps this is why Facebook is so low? eMarketer estimates the site will hit nearly a one in two penetration in the UK this year and so it's hard to think that less than half of the people on Facebook, and less than a fifth of the total UK internet population, thinks they don't receive retailer promotions and messages through the channel. The real figures must be higher -- this all has to come down to recall, doesn't it?

So we may need to have another way to convert these results in to a takeaway statistic to trot out the next time email marketing needs to be defended. Maybe it needs to be about recall -- for example, that four times as many people recall receiving retail email marketing compared to Facebook or Direct Mail promotions?

A good way to bring home the importance of this is that people who are receiving email marketing from retailers have signed up to do so. It's not an advertising medium, like Facebook, where some posts could be from brands you have followed, but most will be paid-for adverts placed in the middle of a wall. 

With the permission piece in play, that makes the success of email all the more notable, doesn't it? A channel that only gets in contact with a user's permission has four times the reach of a social media darling that sells gaps in its users' walls for the highest bidder.

Email takes a lot of bashing as yesterday's channel, but considering that it has four times the reach of Facebook, that tired cliche of the social media '"ninja" can't remain unchallenged, given the actual facts.

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