ATLANTA, Sept. 16, 2009-Silverpop®, the world's only provider of both email marketing and marketing automation solutions specifically tailored to the unique needs of B2C and B2B marketers, today released the results of a first-of-its-kind study highlighting a series of benchmarks against which marketers can measure the social activity of their emails.
Social networking has quickly become more than just an interesting phenomenon. Industry analysts report that 33 percent of online users now visit these sites at least monthly, and 40 percent of email participants use social sites to gather product information and recommendations. As a result, email marketers are taking a keen interest in incorporating social media into their plans. With its report, "Emails Gone Viral: Measuring ‘Share-to-Social' Performance-A Silverpop Benchmark Study," Silverpop, the first email marketing service provider to bridge the gap between email marketing and social networking through the launch of its Share-to-Social feature, will assist companies deploying or planning to deploy share-to-social functionality in maximizing the opportunities of this emerging viral technique.
Among the many interesting findings, Silverpop uncovered the following notable trends:
- While still an emerging practice, social sharing is already achieving click-through and reach rates several times that of the long used forward-to-a-friend functionality. Without offering incentives, social sharing rates average 0.5 percent while forward-to-a-friend rates are typically only a few tenths of 1 percent.
- Using conservative numbers, a Silverpop model estimated that shared emails evaluated for the study delivered an average increase in reach of 24.3 percent (based on original emails delivered), and this figure is expected to increase exponentially once sharing becomes mainstream. Further, on average, social sharing leads to an additional 1 percent of opens.
- As with email in the inbox, the majority of opens and clicks of shared emails occurred in the first couple of days following posting on a social site. On average, the last click on a shared email messages occurs about seven days after the initial share, with activity ranging from 1 to 44 days.
- While specific creative elements did not seem to factor heavily into an email's shareability, it was uncovered that emails most frequently shared were more likely to feature a brand name or product in the subject line rather than a specific offer.
- Interestingly, while links to Facebook, MySpace and Twitter were included most often in email messages, Bebo, Delicious and LinkedIn actually had a higher percentage of share link clicks among the networks.
Other elements evaluated in the benchmark study included the impact of the number of links to social networks on sharing activity, which social networks generated the most subsequent shares, the average click through rates of emails on social networks and much more.
"Combining email and social networking can be very powerful," said Loren McDonald, vice president of industry relations for Silverpop. "Research tells us that ninety-two percent of adult Internet users send or read email. And social network users are, on average, connected to between 150 and 200 friends, so developing an email that is socially shareworthy can turn messages viral very quickly and reach a new group of customers very similar to the ones you already have. This first benchmark study establishes a baseline for future studies that will examine whether sharing activity changes as the practice spreads from early-adoption to a mainstream marketing practice. "
After launching its groundbreaking Share-to-Social feature less than one year ago, Silverpop now has nearly 400 customers using the feature. To develop the study, Silverpop researchers reviewed 562 email messages distributed by 114 companies to more than 54 million recipients. The company analyzed data from email and social network sharing activity and also evaluated creative variables such as subject line elements, design format, location of social network links, average viral life on social networks and popularity of various social networks.
Miles Media, an innovative publishing partner for destinations, is among the hundreds of clients currently using Silverpop's Share-to-Social feature. By placing social sharing links into email communications, the company increased organic opt-ins by as much as 61 percent.
"We've been very pleased with the results of allowing recipients to share emails to social networks and the value it adds to our tourism customers' email programs," said Jenni Fox, email publications manager with Miles Media. "In fact, we have been so impressed that we have been showcasing these results when making recommendations to clients for new programs. The findings of Silverpop's benchmark study will further our efforts to ensure that our clients are educated on the importance of incorporating a social networking element into their email campaigns and will help to answer some of the questions that are common from early adopters."
Silverpop's Engagement Marketing suite helps turn prospects into customers, and customers into fans. Silverpop's Web-based solutions enable companies worldwide to build relationships with customers and prospects through the creation, automation and delivery of relevant, online messaging. Companies rely on the Silverpop EngageTM platform to create and manage multichannel marketing campaigns that reach millions of individuals-one at a time-enhancing lifetime customer value and brand loyalty. Silverpop's Engage B2BTM platform seamlessly scores sales leads, nurtures them through the pipeline and measures campaign return on investment. And Silverpop's strategic counsel, service and support helps clients with the precise level of training and advice needed to quickly improve campaign results and ROI. Silverpop makes it easy and affordable for marketers to create, automate and execute campaigns ... from first click to lifetime customer. With offices in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, Silverpop's engagement marketing technologies are used by industry-leading brands around the globe. Best practices and white papers are available at www.silverpop.com.
Silverpop® is a registered trademark of Silverpop Systems Inc. Silverpop Engage and Silverpop Engage B2B are trademarks of Silverpop Systems Inc.