A new study released today by global interactive marketing provider ExactTarget (NYSE:ET) found two thirds of online Americans have made a purchase as a result of email, nearly twice the percentage who have purchased after receiving marketing messages delivered via both Facebook and text messaging.

“Americans are changing the way they interact online”

Based on a survey of 1,481 U.S. online consumers, ExactTarget’s 2012 Channel Preference Survey asked how Americans communicate online with brands and with friends and found a growing divide between personal communications preferences and how consumers want to receive marketing messages.

“Americans are changing the way they interact online,” said Jeff Rohrs, ExactTarget’s vice president of marketing. “Our 2012 Channel Preference Survey provides new data that identifies how today’s hyper-connected consumers are engaging with brands and offers exclusive advice on how to avoid the pitfalls of using personal communications preferences as a proxy for marketing communications.”

The study found consumers’ preferences vary significantly for communications with brands and friends. 77 percent of consumers surveyed said they prefer to receive marketing messages via email, while only 45 percent prefer email for personal communications.

Five percent said they prefer to receive marketing messages via social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), while 13 percent prefer social media for personal communications.

Key findings of the research include:

  • Email
    • 96 percent of online consumers use email at least weekly.
    • 66 percent have made a purchase after receiving an email marketing message.
    • 76 percent prefer email over all other channels for customer service messages.
    • 66 percent of teens (ages 15-17) prefer email over all other channels for permission-based marketing.
  • Text Messaging
    • 68 percent of online consumers use text messaging at least weekly.
    • 16 percent have made a purchase after receiving a text (SMS) marketing message.
    • 25 percent prefer text messaging over all other channels for real-time travel alerts.
    • 9 percent of consumers ages 25-34 prefer text messaging over all other channels for delivery of tickets to an event purchased online.
  • Social Media
    • 70 percent of online consumers use Facebook at least weekly.
    • 20 percent use Twitter at least weekly.
    • 20 percent have made a purchase after receiving a marketing message on Facebook.
    • 32 percent of teens (ages 15-17) have made a purchase after receiving a marketing message on Facebook.
    • 16 percent of teens (ages 15-17) have made a purchase after receiving a marketing message on Twitter.
    • 4 percent prefer Facebook over all other channels for permission-based marketing.
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