The analysis covered campaigns from leading brands such as Western Union, Sara Lee and Kimberly Clark. The report shows that the brands reached roughly 3.2 million consumers running their campaigns that delivered deals and incentives, and that 19% of the social followers became advocates when encouraged via referral marketing programs. The amplification effect of the programs was quite impressive: those 19% who became followers (and numbered around 600,000) then referred products and services to more than 9 million social connections, boosting reach by 15 times. With 3% of those connections then becoming new customers, the end result was that the brands picked up close to an additional 10% of new customers from their initial 3.2 million.
But perhaps most surprising is that the social followers who referred the brands used email as their primary sharing channel. While some 85% of that their reach was obtained through Facebook sharing (as opposed to about 12% through email), more new customers were obtained through email (50.8%) than through Facebook (22%), Twitter (26.8%), Pinterest and LinkedIn (0.4%) combined.
As the researchers note, “marketers should avoid falling into perception traps – like email marketing is somehow vastly different from social marketing. Anything that connects consumers is social.” And in the case of email, it certainly seems to have the desired results.