London, March 2011. eCircle, Europe's largest provider of email marketing services, today launched the findings of the second stage of its European Social Media Study, analysing how consumers are engaging with brands through online channels across Europe. The results show that there is a clear divide between the six largest European countries in the way consumers are communicating online.

Consumers in the UK, Spain and Italy were found to prefer multi-channel communications, interacting with brands through both social media and email. Italy had the highest number of multi channel users with 69% of respondents using email, newsletters and social media.

Volker Wiewer, CEO of eCircle commented: “Global brands launching European campaigns need to look carefully at the nuances between different countries and tailor their communication strategy accordingly. There has been much debate about social media 'killing off email' – this research demonstrates that far from preferring one method, many consumers prefer a multi-channel approach. At eCircle we have found that email and social media, when used together effectively, form a powerful marketing tool.”

In contrast, Germany, France and the Netherlands were much more email-dominant, with over a third only contactable through email. The number of consumers only using email varied considerably across the six markets, from just 11% in Spain to a massive 40% in the Netherlands. In the UK this figure was less than a quarter, with just 18% of respondents only using email and the majority preferring to use a combination of online channels.

Across the six countries email marketing remained the most popular channel of digital communication. An average of 83% of consumers in the UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Spain and Italy are subscribed to marketing newsletters. Even in countries where the share of email newsletters is lower, over two thirds of consumers still subscribed to newsletters (Spain 70% and the UK 73%).

Of the social media channels used, unsurprisingly Facebook dominates in five out of the six countries reviewed, with an average of 88% of respondents using the network. In the Netherlands Facebook is significantly less popular, with the majority of consumers instead using local network Hyves (80%). In Germany there is also more fragmentation with Facebook only just taking the top spot with 60% of consumers using it and high numbers using VZ network (50%) and We-kennt-wen (36%).

Surprisingly, although Facebook is dominant in the majority of markets, relatively few respondents are following a company or brands profile, suggesting that brands across Europe are still failing to engage with consumers effectively over social networks. The UK has the highest number signed up to fan pages with over a third of users. But in other countries including Germany and France, less than 16% of users were signed up to Facebook fan pages.

Wiewer added: “Email marketing still forms the backbone of all effective online marketing campaigns. Yes, there is significant variation in the way consumers across Europe are using online channels and how they choose to interact with brands. But email is the one constant method consumers depend on. That said, with the emergence of smart phones and tablet devices we are seeing the way people are using online channels change. We will be analysing these developments at the ConnectEurope2011 conference where I'm looking forward to hearing thoughts on the future of digital communications from key influencers in marketing and business including Google's Dan Cobley and Duncan Bannatyne.”

Download a PDF version of The European Social Media and Email Marketing Study here:

The report conducted with Mediacom Science analysed over 5,000 responses to reveal the key differences between UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. The European Social Media and Email Marketing study is a three part study conducted in six countries across Europe. It will comprehensively map the digital dialogue between email and social networks including Facebook and Twitter. Part three is due to be lauched mid-2011.


About eCircle
eCircle is one of the leading providers of online marketing services, providing state-of-the-art technology, permission marketing databases and professional services for email marketing to the world’s biggest brands. Since 1999 eCircle has stood for innovative and efficient email marketing for customer acquisition and retention. Leading organisations including Asda, HBOS and Halfords trust our consistent customer care, our long-term experience and not least our highly motivated and professional employees. The company has more than 300 employees, with headquarters in Munich and additional offices in London, Paris, Milan, Utrecht and Madrid.

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Published on: 3:02PM on 4th May 2011