Of Subscribers, Fans & Followers

Posted: September 16, 2010 in Social Media
Tags: , , ,

There was some very interesting research released from eMarketer based on a study done by ExactTarget entitled “Subscribers, Fans & Followers”. The study aimed to quantify the differences for marketers between email, Facebook and Twitter. There are two charts of interest, here’s the first:

Basically, this tells us that Twitter followers of a brand were the most loyal and most likely to purchase, followed by email subscribers, followed by Facebook subscribers – in percentage terms (see below, that’s important).

The second chart varies a little bit in terms of which constituency is more likely to recommend a brand:

On the surface, the results look similar in terms of which group is more apt to recommend a brand.

I draw one conclusion and one major caveat. First, these results are fairly intuitive. Twitter is arguably the most mobile and most real-time. To follow a brand in real-time, you presumably are as passionate about that brand as you are your friends. If I’m following JetBlue via Twitter in addition to a few hundred friends, that is likely my airline of choice and one that I’d recommend to other friends. If I “like” JetBlue on Facebook, it is probably a feeling that is less passionate.

The major caveat I have though is that this study was done in percentage terms. Let’s not forget the behemoth Facebook has become in terms of whole numbers (the latest count is 500 million users), while Twitter is still relatively small in terms of usage. Everyone I know is on Facebook; only a handful actively use Twitter.

The big winner in this study in my opinion? Good “old” email. Even more so than Facebook, everyone uses email. Over the last few years, people have become increasingly cognizant of spam and email overload leading them to try and limit the volume of email they receive. Therefore, nowadays, if you’re subscribing to a brand or newsletter via email, you probably have thought long and hard about it.

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