Facebook vs. Email: A Tale of Two Platforms

Valued Contributor

Facebook vs. Email: A Tale of Two Platforms

HeaderImage.pngWhy you should stop focusing on Social Media and Tune Up Your Email Marketing Strategy


A recent study concluded that email is almost 40 times better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter (Source:  McKinsey & Company1).


That’s great but let’s dig a little deeper. Let’s look at the two platforms with equal numbers of contacts and through average engagement what you can expect for your business.


Side note: I reference many statistics in this article in case you want to dig deeper, but that is a deep dark rabbit hole you might not want to go down.


Platform 1: Facebook

The Facebook page has 1,000 fans/likes/followers. Organic reach of native Facebook posts has plummeted recently and sits around 2-6% (Source: Ogilvy2). We’ll use 4% for this scenario. So when the page posts a status update only 40 people see it. If you are a Facebook page administrator, you can see the reach of your posts and get a pretty good idea of how many people you are reaching. I think you will find for most small businesses, these numbers are not far off.


The click through rate on Facebook posts by pages is about 5% (Source: Forbes3). That means that out of an audience of 1,000 fans, only 40 people are likely to see your update, and only 2 are likely to click. I really hope that landing page has a stellar conversion rate.




Platform 2: Email

A business has a permission-based email list of 1,000 subscribers. We see an average open rate on a good quality list around 25%. (Source: Constant Contact4) That means that 250 subscribers will open your email. The bonus here is that the other 750 may see your name and subject line in their inbox that reminds them of your business.


Of those 250 that opened the email, we see an average click through rate of 10% (Source: Constant Contact4) or 25 people. Since the goal of marketing today is to elicit a physical, measurable response, we’ve achieved that goal with 25 click throughs compared to 2 click throughs with the Facebook post.




As with any hypothetical situation, there are plenty of variables. I encourage you to look at your recent Facebook fan engagement and recent email results. If your results are higher than my scenarios, congratulations. If your numbers are lower, make a concerted effort to improve your email marketing metrics to increase your engagement and your organization’s success.


Bonus Tip: You can benchmark your own Facebook page at Agora Pulse’s Facebook Page Barometer > http://barometer.agorapulse.com/. This will give you specific benchmarks for your page against other pages that have used this tool, currently over 11,000 pages.




  1. http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/why_marketers_should_keep_sending_you_emails
  2. http://social.ogilvy.com/facebook-zero-considering-life-after-the-demise-of-organic-reach/
  3. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2015/05/13/why-your-organic-facebook-reach-is-still-falling...
  4. If you’d like to see how your open and click through rates compare to others in your industry, check out https://knowledgebase.constantcontact.com/articles/KnowledgeBase/5409-average-industry-rates. We found a ton of studies all over the place on email marketing statistics, but based on this data from Constant Contact and what we see in our clients’ accounts, we’ve averaged out to the statistics mentioned above.


And if you are a Constant Contact user and want more tips like these, consider enrolling in my VIP program to gain access to my Email Marketing Workbook resource library.


Constant Contact Certified Solution Provider

Constant Contact Solution Provider since 2005
Leadpages Conversion Marketing Certified Professional
Not applicable

Re: Facebook vs. Email: A Tale of Two Platforms

Thanks for mentioning the Agorapulse Barometer Laura! I appreciate :-)


There's one thing I'd like to add to the post, email is not always that good, and Facebook reach is not always that bad.


We rarely get 25% open rate, and definitely not 10% open rate. Our average will be ore in the 15 to 20% range for open rate, and 2 to 5% in CTR.


I guess all depends on the "health" or your mailing list, the same goes with your Facebook presence.



Valued Contributor

Re: Facebook vs. Email: A Tale of Two Platforms

Results definitely depend on the health of your mailing list and Facebook fan base.


Other factors include your industry and the quality of your content.


I have clients that average a 50% open rate on email as well as a client that averages 35% reach on Facebook but, again, a lot of factors go into that. I was trying to give people an "in general" analysis.


Thanks for your thoughts.

Constant Contact Certified Solution Provider

Constant Contact Solution Provider since 2005
Leadpages Conversion Marketing Certified Professional
Contributing Solution Provider

Re: Facebook vs. Email: A Tale of Two Platforms

Great article, thank you.  Very very useful to me! 

Albert Kaufman - I am a master certified Constant Contact solution provider - here to help you make the most out of your account. Reach me @ albert@albertideation.com - here's to your success!
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