The big showdown! Email vs. Social Media – which one wins? And which one will provide everything your business needs for successful marketing? This question seems to pop up from time to time as businesses seek to be more effective in their marketing efforts. No shame in that game; everyone wants to invest in what works and shun what doesn’t. That’s just good business sense.
There’s nothing wrong with comparing marketing methods to see which ones work best for your company and industry niche. Here, we will look at how email marketing can easily outperform social media marketing. Then you can judge for yourself which option may work best for your business.

Click-Through Rates

The overall average click-through rate for marketing emails is 3.57%. That means across every industry, about 3.57% of emails received actually achieve their goal: a recipient clicks on a link in the email and visits a web page. Compare this to Facebook, where the average paid ad campaign achieves a 0.07% click-through rate. So, what? Do percentages matter? Yes, they do.
Here’s how these percentages play out. For example, if you have an audience of 100,000 email subscribers and 100,000 social media followers. According to the Facebook statistic, when you create and share a new post on social media, you can expect about 70 clicks (probably less because all your followers may not see your post).
Send that same content in an email to your 100,000 subscribers and you can reasonably expect about 3,570 clicks. So, you only need to create another 50 or so social media posts to reach the same effectiveness as a single email.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Of course, another valid means to measure which marketing channel is most effective is by calculating the return on investment, or ROI, from each. Roughly 60% of companies and internet marketers believe email marketing outperforms social media in terms of ROI. According to a recent study conducted by OptinMonster in 2018, email is the most widely used marketing channel with 2.6 billion users worldwide, spread across a diverse set of demographics.
When it comes to measuring the ROI of social media, things get confusing. Marketing directors for businesses claim that 44% of them cannot measure the impact of social media on their business. Plus, 36% claim that social media has a qualitative impact, but they cannot translate that into a hard ROI. Moreover, 55% of marketing agencies say they cannot effectively calculate the ROI of clients’ social media marketing.


Smart marketers go where audiences spend the most time. And, over and over again, email proves to be the number one attention-getting channel of communication. In fact, 58% of people check their email first before checking out the latest cat videos or data breaches on Facebook. This statistic even beats out those who rise early and check the weather.
While it is true that a significant population hangs out on social media, tracking where they are and when they choose to spend time is a best-guess game. With email, you send your message, and it waits to be viewed at the user’s convenience with little chance of being lost in the shuffle. Social posts swim in an overwhelming tide of messages and can easily become lost and never viewed.

The Smart Play is to Use Them Both

All the statistics and data aside, comparing email and social media is like comparing apples and oranges. Social media marketing and email marketing aren’t mutually exclusive. Smart marketers integrate email and social media and use them together.
Social media should be used for driving traffic to your website. You can do that organically by making your content go viral, or by paying for social media ads. Email marketing should be used for generating leads, driving sales and increasing customer retention.
The bottom line is, you should use social media marketing to drive visitors to your website, where you can convert those visitors into email subscribers.
What are your experiences with using email and social media marketing? Do you have insights or wisdom you can share with our readers? Share it in the comments below.

About the Author: Donna Amos

I believe you can achieve anything you truly want to achieve. “It might sound trite, but time and time again, I’ve seen it happen with my clients. They overcome the fear of exposing themselves to the possibility of failure to creating profitable exciting businesses. My clients do great work, and sometimes it only takes someone else believing in them to give them the confidence to step out and take the chance.”