A recently released report by McKinsey & Company revealed that the efficacy of email over social media is actually beyond any online marketer’s dreams. The study measured US consumer acquisition growth by channel in percentage of customers acquired, and found that email has been on an absolute tear since 2010 when this performance statistic was relatively equivalent to that on Facebook and Twitter. The growth in overall percentage of customers when charted creates a linear up up up graph which sees email hit a rate of… wait for it… forty times that of Facebook and Twitter combined!

Ammo to silence the most strident email critics

McKinsey & Company’s latest iConsumer survey entitled E-Commerce Customer Acquisition Snapshot shows that between 2009 and 2010 email actually declined very slightly in performance against the social media powerhouses of Facebook and Twitter. However, as the mobile revolution slowly began to take hold email marketing effectiveness took off with it, leaving the top two social networks behind in its dust. One of the most fascinating aspects of this report is that some of the statistics which are revealed in the study promise to absolutely floor any professional email marketer and provide more than enough ammo to silence even the most strident critic.

No growth in social networks’ customer acquisition rate in 5 years

The rate which the McKinsey & Company survey claims for email marketing’s advantage over social media in the field of customer acquisition is truly nothing short of amazing. Both Facebook and Twitter have essentially shown no growth at all since way back in 2009. This flatlining betrays the fact that social media followers are essentially in “for the ride” and a decade or more of online marketers’ best efforts to forge a powerful conversion machine on the infrastructure of the social networks have had essentially no effect whatsoever. When you consider that over the past five years there hasn’t been a single blip in the customer acquisition growth percentage of the two most popular social networks in the United States, you really have to wonder if social media will ever truly become the checkout powerhouse that so many believe it already is.

Credible reputation & impeccable statistical science

If it were not that the McKinsey & Company’s report is backed by an extremely credible reputation and some impeccable statistical science, you might think that it’s a fudged report concocted by an email marketing promotional company. The figures it provides over and above that remarkable forty times statistic are certainly worthy of a high degree of confidence from any online brand marketer.

Champagne corks popping in email marketing offices

The report reinforces the commitment, trust, and belief that savvy online marketers have in email. It concludes that only 9% of all American consumers fail to check their email at least daily, leaving 91% who do. Those emails certainly get the desired job done with remarkable effectiveness as the rate at which email missives prompt conversions and checkouts is more than three times greater than that to be achieved on social networks. If that wasn’t enough to set champagne corks popping among email marketing offices all over the country, consider that not only does email trigger more purchases, but the average order value is 17 percent greater than the ones generated through social media. If we combine those two statistics we find that the bottom line effect of email on order volume and value are nearly four times that of social media. Given that many brands would swear their undying fealty to a channel which provides a 10% increase in order volume and value, the prospect of being able to commit to email’s absolutely staggering 400% advantage is nothing short of a total revelation.

While the social networks have completely flatlined in the last five years, email marketing has increased annually until it has become the undeniable champion. There is no doubt that social media will continue to have a place in the quiver of any online marketer, but when it comes time to pick the one arrow that has the best chance of a bullseye, it’s always email!