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ExactTarget launched the latest addition to its Subscriber, Fans and Followers series of reports yesterday to coincide with the UK leg of its user conference for 2011.

'The Digital Kingdom' is the first of the series to deal specifically with the UK, and considers how attitudes towards email and social media differ between this market and the US.

Based on a sample of 1,405 online consumers, the research is based on the premise that subscribers can be defined as those that have provided their email address to at least one company for the purpose of receiving permission-based emails. Fans are those with a Facebook accounts who have Liked at least one brand, and followers have a Twitter account and follow at least one brand.

Unsurprisingly, the research shows a focus on email ruling overall for brand-interaction, with 93% of UK online consumers fitting into the subscriber group, 45% as fans and just 7% followers.

Similarly expected is the outcome that just over a third of respondents said that they check email compulsively, with a smaller figure admitting the same for Facebook – then decreasing again for Twitter. 

What is interesting however, is the focus on email as a potential traffic driver, and the differences in motivations to 'subscribe' between the UK and US.

The survey found people’s ‘digital morning’ routine to be all about email, Facebook and news. ExactTarget points out that since Facebook is in the process of phasing out the majority of its email notifications and that as time goes on, it will be interesting to monitor the effect this has on popularity of email vs. Facebook as the day’s first online destination. 

Has email’s morning popularity been partially attributable to its delivery of Facebook notifications? “Whereas Facebook has no ability to display the contents of your inbox, email notifications once gave notice as to whether there was a need to check Facebook,” it reads. “Will consumers now reorganise their morning priorities to compensate for the lack of Facebook notices in their inbox? Time will tell how this change impacts consumers’ morning priorities and habits.”

On the flipside, ‘digital evening’ habits were found to be nearly identical, with a slight increase in Facebook use and a slant towards leisure and social activity.

As for motivation, in the UK ‘stuff’ seems to be the main driver, with the top two reasons for handing over an email highlighted as receiving discounts or money-off promotions (52%) and receiving ‘free stuff or giveaways’ (44%).

The third highest reason was that someone shops with or buys from the company in question regularly (39%). In the US it’s very different, with some kind of data exchange being far more important.

For Facebook, it’s the same case, with the top two reasons to like a brand in the UK to receive discounts (49%) and to receive free giveaways (48%). We found similar results in a Facebook consumer survey conducted earlier this year. 

Twitter is the odd one out however, with information being key. The top three motivations to follow a brand on Twitter in the UK were found to be: 

  • For more information related to personal interests (42%).
  • For a quick and easy way to keep my finger on the pulse of the brand (42%). 
  • To receive advance notice of new products or releases (41%).
Vikki Chowney

Published 9 November, 2011 by Vikki Chowney

Vikki is head of community at TMW. You can follow her on Twitter or Google+

249 more posts from this author

Comments (2)



On the whole these are tow completely different markets and on paper they are of different sizes. As a result, advertisers have different priorities that they must address, as well and the users.

almost 5 years ago


Sandra Jones

When thinking about an effective social media strategy, one cannot ignore emails. A nicely design e-mail has the power to change the shape of the business substantially.

Thanks for sharing!

almost 5 years ago

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