Who Is Your Brand's "Best Friend"?

You’ve heard about Facebook, you’ve heard about Twitter, and you’ve definitely heard about email, but what do these channels mean to your marketing strategy and who are these subscribers, followers and fans?  In a recent study conducted by digital direct marketing firm Exact Target, the effectiveness of email, Facebook and Twitter marketing were compared.

Part of the findings of this study showed that these channels each offer different strengths and weaknesses.  Email, the most broadly used communication channel of the three, is likely to drive increased purchase intent among the largest number of consumers.  Facebook is the least effective channel to drive increased purchase behavior; however, the value of your Facebook fans is that they make great endorsers of your brand.  Twitter is the channel most likely to drive increased purchase and recommendations after a consumer becomes a follower of the brand.  That being said, only 3% of U.S. online consumers are actually following at least one brand.  With this snapshot of each communication channel, the study came to some conclusions about the values and habits of a brand’s subscribers, followers and fans.

The major findings of the study include:

  • Who is participating?  93% of U.S. online consumers subscribe to email marketing messages, 38% are fans of brands on Facebook and 3% follow brands on Twitter.
  • Who is likely to purchase?  27% of email subscribers, 17% of Facebook fans and 37% of Twitter followers are likely to purchase from a brand after engaging with the brand via their chosen channel.
  • Who is likely to recommend your brand?  24% of email subscribers, 21% of Facebook fans and 33% of Twitter followers are likely to recommend a brand after engaging with them through their chosen communication channel.
  • Why do they subscribe, follow or become a fan?  39% of Facebook users become fans of brands to publicly display their brand affiliation to friends, 22% follow brands on Twitter and 11% subscribe to email communications for the same reason.
  • How do they want to receive discounts & promotions?  67% of consumers subscribe to emails for discounts and promotions, 40% become a fan of the brand on Facebook and 31% follow a brand on Twitter for discounts and promotions.

The conclusions of this study all boil down to how you intend to use each communication channel for your brand.  It’s important to remember that consumers don’t isolate themselves to just email, Facebook or Twitter.  They rely on each communication channel to provide unique information about the brand.  Your marketing strategy should combine the strengths of each communication channel in order to market your brand effectively.

Learn more about how social media marketing and email marketing can improve your brand.

*Photo courtesy of Webtreats through Flickr.


Check out our white paper for 6 secrets to improve email deliverability. You’ll learn how making the inbox can mean big dollars for your business. Includes a case study of adaptive deliverability that boosted customer response by 19%.

Case Study: Email Deliverability

About Fathom Team Member


  • Interesting and useful. I see Twitter followers are the best as recommenders and people who will purcase something from site. I wouldn’t expect that before I read this data.

  • […] FathomSEO has a useful post on the benefits of each of these methods, based on research done by Exact Target and the findings make for fairly useful reading. As usual, the figures are largely US based but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t beneficial for us in the UK too and if you’re looking for a way to effectively create an online marketing mix for your business then these could be the guidelines you’re looking for. […]

Leave a Reply