Email Marketing vs Social Media Marketing: which one is better in 2020?

Wondering how email and social media marketing can contribute to your business growth? Learn about the key differences between the two mediums.

First published


Last edited


Read time

4 minutes

By James

James has five years' experience as a Content Marketer, bylines on Left Foot Forward, Submittable, and INOMICS, and a Master's in History. In his free time he likes to read, play guitar, and write for his personal blog.

Email marketing and social media marketing are two of the most popular forms of digital marketing. The power of social media has been proven, but you also shouldn’t overlook the growth of email marketing. Both email and social media have their own strengths — a good marketer needs to combine and optimize on both instead of prioritizing one over the other. Read along to find out more about email and social media marketing.

The bright sides of SoMe marketing


First, social media has the power to bring your content virality. You can click, like, comment, reply, share retweet content on social media; the actions in email, however, is vastly limited. Users have more options to engage or interact with your content. Social media content wins with the ‘contagious’ factor that email marketing lacks.


Social media also helps you establish your brand identity. By filling your social media with your logo, information about your products or well-written posts showing thought leadership, your brand identity becomes more visible: this is something that email cannot do.


Lastly, social media gives you a wide range of targeting options. Facebook lets you deliver your content to people based on demographics, interests, behaviors, etc. Social media companies are continuously developing their tools so that both advertisers and users have good experience with the ads.

However, only focusing on connecting with your audience through social media comes with major disadvantages. The ‘game book’ – aka the algorithm of big players are constantly changing. Instead of creating content that helps your brand, understanding how the algorithm works and what content brings actual value will directly impact how and how often your posts are shown.

Don’t overlook the power of email marketing

Email is doing better in terms of reach, views and click-through rate 

Commercial emails reach 79% of target recipients and have an average open rate of 21.8%, whereas Facebook’s organic reach remains around 6%.

The average click-through rate of email (3.3%) is also higher than Facebook (0.5% — 1.6%). Facebook is known to prioritize posts from friends, not from brands, making it difficult and expensive for your ad to appear in someone’s newsfeed. Emails, in contrast, give you 100% SOV; when users open your emails, your content is the only thing they see.

Email is also effective because it is permission-based. It is users who have opted-in your email list and given you the go-ahead to communicate with them by email. They know you and would like to hear from you.

Email gives you 100% SOV; when users open your emails, your content is the only thing they see. It is effective because it is permission-based.


Email beats social media in conversion rate

According to a study by Monetate, email converts better than search and social media.

The main reason for this is that emails are personal and can be tailored. You can segment your email list and send different emails to different segments. For example, if you have a cosmetics store, you may send two different emails to your subscribers, one for women in their late 20s with information about anti-aging products and another one for teenage girls with information about natural-looking makeup products. Tailored emails are highly relevant and useful to customers, thereby driving more conversions for you.

Email helps you build meaningful relationships

Email is a one-on-one communication tool with customized content delivered, meaning customers stay when they are given what they need.

The well-known saying of ‘context is king’ is highly relevant when considering how appropriate, or how willing your audience is to interact with your content. For example in B2B, email clearly offers a higher level of professionalism than social media. It’s also the expected and standard way of reaching clients and prospects, meaning you’ll score higher in authenticity and trustworthiness in a personal email than a well-targeted Linkedin ad.

The Bottom Line

To maximize the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, email marketing and social media marketing should go hand in hand. Social media assists you in building your brand, interacting with your customers and acquiring new ones, whereas email helps you drive conversions and build relationships.

Make sure to also check out our blog post on how to localize your email marketing strategy. Or, if you would like to explore all of our posts on email tips and tricks, you can find them on: More Tips💡

(originally published by Trang Nguyen)

mailbutler gmail apple mail

Mailbutler is a powerful productivity extension for Apple Mail, Outlook and Gmail that helps professionals and teams email smarter to get more meaningful work done. Get started today for free.

Recommended articles

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment (1)