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For years, we've heard the claim: email is dead. That's thanks in part, we're told, to the rise of social media, particularly amongst younger internet users who have grown up interacting via social channels.

But is email really dead (or dying)? Yesterday, monitoring company Royal Pingdom posted stats on the internet in 2010, and they detail the growth of both email and social media.

According to Royal Pingdom, 107 trillion email messages were sent in total last year. That works out to 294bn per day. There were nearly 2bn email users and 3bn email accounts, and the ranks of the emailing grew by nearly 500m. In other words, last year, email grew a Facebook last year.

On the social media side of things, 2010 was a year of strong growth as well. Twitter added 100m accounts, and hosted some 25bn tweets. Facebook added 250m registered users, and now has 600m users worldwide, 70% of whom live outside of the U.S.

By Royal Pingdom's count, those Facebook users shared 30bn pieces of content each month, uploaded 20m videos each month and installed 20m apps each and every day.

The message for marketers is quite clear: notwithstanding the fact that Royal Pingdom estimates almost 90% of the email messages that traversed the internet last year were spam, email is alive and well.

As, of course, is social media if you're looking at two of the most popular social media hubs, Facebook and Twitter. Which is why marketers should ignore the exaggerated claims of email's demise.

As my colleague Aliya Zaidi noted in November of last year, Econsultancy's How We Shop in 2010: Habits and Motivations of Consumers report found that a majority (61%) of consumers still prefer to receive offers via email, and email, when targeted correctly, is still extremely effective at driving sales.

If Royal Pingdom's numbers indicate one thing, it's this: email and social media are not competing in a zero-sum game. Smart marketers will increasingly recognize that email and social media can work together to produce great results.

Photo credit: smemon87 via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 13 January, 2011 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Anonymous

If social has killed email, why does facebook send me so many emails?

over 5 years ago

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Paul Dodd

Worth noting that you can only participate in social media by signing up with an email address! In other words when talking of 'fishing where the fish are' as many pro social media campaigners quote in favour of facebook, twitter etc, email is definitely the place I'll be casting my line!

In reality the key is to integrate both email and social media. Mail Chimp is a great site and resouce that will help anyone to acheive this.

over 5 years ago

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Neil Robbins, Managing Director at SilverbeanSmall Business Multi-user

When I hear people suggesting that 'email is dead' I assume they mean that's it's influence as a marketing tool is waning, which I'd have to agree with. 'Dead' is a strong word though.

In my opinion, Email v Social Marketing isn't a numbers game as suggested above. In fact one of Emails biggest enemies is the volume of emails we're all receiving.

The important difference is to note is that social marketing is much more influential and interactive than email marketing; and the two shouldn't be compared with 'Users v Emails Sent'.

over 5 years ago

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Georgia Christian - Mail Blaze

Wow - those Pingdom figures are incredible.Thanks for sharing Patricio. You're absolutely right - email marketing and social media can and do work very well together if your marketing strategy is implemented correctly. There's no doubt that by integrating the two, you create more awareness for your business and company. georgia@mailblaze.com

over 5 years ago

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Willy

Death is just hyperbolic and sensational. Email is far from dead. It is changing and adapting. Various demographic audiences use all of the media modes in very stylized, individual ways. Radio was supposed to have been dead in the 90's. It's still here. NPR is where I get most of my news. It plays a role in the media stew.  TV is still thriving. So is outdoor. Social and mobile media are clunky pre-teens with plenty of maturing to do. They will never dominate. They will only be part of the new diverse mix. Frankly, I and millions like me, will never really embrace mobile media--and that's okay. Marketers will have to find us in one of many ways. And then there's the next thing... Implants.

over 5 years ago

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Chris Mapley

I agree that email certainly has big numbers attached to it.  So do my filters and junk folder.  There's perhaps 10-20 sources from whom I would actually look at those emails.  Everything else clogs up my inbox.

over 5 years ago

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Justin Kistner

Sending email is not the same as spending time consuming it. Nielsen's numbers from August of 2010 showed the time spent consuming email by US online adults dropped by a third since 2009. Email is, in fact, dying at the hands of social media.

over 5 years ago

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