Communication is not what it was a decade ago. Social media has taken the world by storm and people are connecting like never before. Consider these infographics:
comScore’s 2012 U.S Digital Future in Focus report indicates that consumers are spending one out of every six online minutes on social networks (16.6%). That’s up from less than 15% at the end of 2010.
Nielsen’s State of the Media: U.S. Digital Consumption Report, Q3-Q4 2011 found Internet users spend 21.3% of their time on social networking sites.
In both cases, time spent on social media sites surpasses time spent on email. Does this mean that email as a communication platform is dying, being killed off by social media?
Email is everywhere; it’s the core of everything we do online. Email is still where the most online engagement happens, as is evident in the fact that we all get a ton (OK, a slight exaggeration) of emails every day. In fact, an average professional person gets approximately 100+ emails a day. Add to that the emails we, as consumers, get from online retailers, some sending emails at least once a day and often twice or even more. Plus, we can’t forget spam, which accounts for 14.5 billion messages globally per day.
It seems that good old email is here to stay, irrespective of the social media boom. A quick look at this infographic from SmarterTools makes the case:
So even though we use a plethora of social sites to chit-chat, engage in conversations, sign up for discounts, and more, we still need email to stay connected. For digital marketers, not integrating email into the communications mix is like not having BBQ sauce at a cookout.
The irony is that so-called social media marketing, the new trend, is really a subset of email marketing. This might upset a lot of social media gurus, but show me one email these days that doesn’t integrate a social aspect into it: social “follow us” icons, social share, etc. It’s all cohesive.
That’s my take – what do you think?
Next time I’ll talk about the effect of big data on the future of email…’til then, Cheers!