This post is not about facebook bashing.
Let’s be clear. Facebook probably has the best people based targeting capabilities combined with the largest user reach in the industry. Facebook advertising solutions are great.
But what about facebook pages and their followers? Well, unless you’re as popular as Real Madrid or Rihana, it is very likely that your organic engagement rates are getting everyday closer to zero.
Pages with over 500,000 likes have engagement rates of about 0,05% to 0,20% (1). This means if you have 1,000,000 people who liked your page, you will get only 500 to 2,000 likes/comments/shares on your posts. And we’re not talking about traffic.
Think that this rate is even significantly lower for e-commerce sites or more commercial brands. As an example, a well known french catalog sales website such as La Redoute seems to have around 50 to 200 engagements per post with 2,100,000 “likes”. This means their engagement rate is under than 0,01 %. Translated into direct revenue, this must be close to zero.
Now let’s compare with email newsletters.
While email suffered over the past decade due to bad practices from marketers and spammers, it has recently reborn as an almost hype and super qualitative channel (2).
This channel has indeed changed significantly in just 3 – 4 years. Main reasons are :
- Smartphone and tablet adoption : email looks great and is so convenient on mobile, making it the first usage.
- Spam filters : webmails are now doing a really great job at protecting users against spam, scam or simply bad practices from marketers
- Sending emails is now easy : companies like Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, MailJet have done an amazing job simplifying email marketing, from newsletter design to delivery and reporting.
- Good practices : marketers now understand that quality is better than volume. They also understand that possessing your own data is key.
Well executed, email marketing is just way more effective for brands, e-commerce sites or medias. Email generates both engagement and (qualified) traffic, thus revenues. If you consider opening an email as an “engagement” — which it is— then email beats facebook pages by more than 300 times. Back to the exemple of La Redoute, a 800,000 email list would easily generate 100,000 unique opens and 15,000 clicks everyday. Compared to the 200 facebook engagements, that is 500 times more for 3 times less “users”.
Building a strong permission email strategy is the right thing to do,even in 2016 (more than 20 years after email became mainstream). Here are a few bullet points that make it easy to understand why:
- facebook users feeds are getting incredibly busy
- facebook limits your posts organic reach under 15–20%
- facebook owns and controls the data about your “fans”
- facebook doesn’t let you reach your fans individually
- facebook doesn’t let you track engagements with your own anaytics
- A huge percentage of fans are inactive
- Email is far from being dead as predicted years ago
- Email is neutral, platform-agnostic, multi-device
- Email offers amazing design opportunities
- Email lets you own your opt-in subscribers data, and track all their activity
- Email lets you contact your subscribers directly with 1-to-1, or bulk messages
- Email lets you personnalise each message in terms of content, time, frequency
- Email helps you reduce your dependance over facebook and google.
- Email newsletters can be monetized as well as web traffic
In 2016, which digital marketer would prefer having 100,000 likes over 100,000 optin email subscribers? None.
So even if email is not free and is not as easy to use as facebook, isn’t it really worth the investment?
also available on Powerspace Blog
(1) Some stats about engagement rates : source 1 — Source 2 — Source 3
(2) The Triumphant Return of the Email Newsletter on Hbr.org