If you’re a marketer or own a business, you’ve heard the hype about social media marketing. You also may have experienced the distinct disappointment of a socially-driven campaign underperforming. A recent study by Custora sheds some new light on this.

Email marketing is here to stay. As an email marketing specialist, maybe that statement smacks of bias. However, a recent study gives some clear statistics on why email matters.

Custora is a data company that many major retailers use to bring more value to their marketing endeavors. They tracked 72 million customers on 86 major retail sites. They analyzed where customers clicked from whether email, Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. They also tracked the customer for the next two years, to calculate customer worth and longevity after the initial click.

A key finding: customers acquired through email were 11% more valuable than the average customer. In comparison, customers acquired by social performed at or below average.

1. Email Marketing is a growing trend

Over the last four years, the rate of email customer acquisition for retailers has quadrupled. 7% of customer acquisitions are coming from email. When you translate that statistic into potential revenue, it’s exciting.

And, according to Custora, customers that are acquired through email will shop more and spend more. All businesses can benefit from growing their email marketing lists, and sending high quality promotional email.

2. Social channels – not quite there yet

Social channels are not yet registering the same relevance. Facebook captures a barely notable portion of customer acquisition. Twitter doesn’t even rank as of yet.

Whereas Facebook customers tend to have an average value. Twitter customers perform 23% below average. Twitter’s 140 character limit versus the far longer and more benefits laden, call-to-action rich content of emails likely explains the difference. Email subscribers are opting in and have a greater likelihood for more impressions in their sales cycle. Your chance of appearing on a Twitter feed or Facebook timeline are time sensitive and algorithm driven. Particularly on Facebook, whether an audience member sees your message or not is constantly changing and the current model is pay for play on that platform.


Email marketing is here to stay. As an email marketing specialist, maybe that statement smacks of bias. However, Custora’s data is in line with our customers’ performance. These are clear statistics on why email matters. We recommend that business continue to build their email lists, but build their social presence too. No company should concentrate all their marketing efforts on a single channel. Ideally, these platforms will work in concert. Are you using your company’s Facebook to support your list building efforts? What about growing your Twitter followers by an email list invite? Multiple impression across channels win the day, but email remains at the core of a strong marketing program with a high ROI.