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BizReport : Email Marketing : March 02, 2010

Social networking isn't strangling email

The time Internet users spend with email does not seem to have been affected by the rise in social networking, despite earlier speculation that it would. Such are the findings of Merkle's 2010 "View from the Social Inbox" report.

by Helen Leggatt

Some have speculated that as social networking use increases, email use will fade away. Just last October the Wall Street Journal published an article claiming email was on its way out as a communications channel.

But when customer relationship marketing agency Merkle surveyed over 3,000 U.S. adults age 18+ they found that time spent with personal, or social, email had not changed in the twelve months leading up to the time of the survey in the fall of 2009. Instead, 71% of respondents still reported spending 20 minutes or more, each week, with email.

In fact, contrary to what some might believe, Merkle found that active social networkers check their email inboxes far more regularly than those who spend less time on social networks. Forty-two percent of social networkers check their email account four or more times a day, compared to just 27% of their non-networked counterparts.

According to MarketingSherpa's Jeanne S. Jennings, a recent report of theirs found a similar scenario in which social networkers displayed a preference for email. Three-quarters of daily social media users cited email as the best way for businesses to communicate with them versus 65% of all email users.

"Social networks and email feed each other - it's the ultimate symbiotic relationship. But just knowing that isn't enough," writes Jennings on the MarketingSherpa Blog. "You have to know how to do it correctly to make it work."

Tags: email, email marketing, research, social networking

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