Silverpop Engage S2 S Study Emails Go Viral

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Emails Gone Viral: Measuring "Share-to-Social" Performance A Benchmark Study

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<ul><li>1.SilverpopFrom First Click to Lifetime CustomerWHITE P A P E R Emails Gone Viral: Measuring Share to Social Performance A Silverpop Benchmark Study Engagement Marketing Solutions </li></ul><p>2. SilverpopEngagement Marketing Solutions WHITE PAPER EMAILS GONE VIRAL: MEASURING SHARE TO SOCIAL PERFORMANCE A Silverpop benchmark studyExecutive SummaryAlthough the concept of sharing email messages with social networks is still in its infancy, Silverpop launched this study of data generated by our Share-to-Social feature to measure the current state of social sharing activity and to understand what motivates recipientsto share email messages with their trusted social networks.We hope this study provides insights to companies deploying or planning 6. View rates have room to grow. On average, your email will collect to deploy share-to-social functionality so they can maximize the opportuni-an additional 1 percent of views when shared on networks, a number ties of this emerging viral technique. we expect will grow as social sharing moves into the mainstream. 7. Shared email has a powerful multiplier effect. Using conserva- With this report, we have created a series of benchmarks against which tive numbers, our model estimates a posted email message has an marketers can measure their own social activity. These benchmarksaverage increase in reach of 24.3 percent (based on original emails establish a baseline for future studies that will examine whether sharingdelivered), but we also expect this figure to increase exponentially activity or metrics change as the practice spreads from early-adopting once sharing becomes mainstream. email recipients and marketers to the mainstream.The findings are presented in the form of questions marketers often have about social sharing and email, such as: Which networks should ISurvey MethodologySilverpop researchers reviewed 562 email messages containing links to include? How many? Which ones generate the most clicks on my sharedsocial networking sites that were sent from 98 business-to-consumer messages? Background information and best-practice recommendationscompanies and 16 business-to-business firms to more than 54 million presented after the findings will help you sharpen your share-to-socialrecipients. We analyzed data from email and social network sharing activ- focus for maximum benefit.ity and also evaluated these creative variables: What Did We Learn?1. Use of a brand or product name in the subject line1. Most companies strike a middle ground. A majority of email mes- 2. Use of offer in the subject line sages intended for sharing include four to five social sharing links. 3. Average viral life of emails on social networks2. The life of a shared message is about one week. Email messages4. Design format of the emails generate clicks on sharing links for an average of 6.8 days, median 5. Position within the email of links to social networks of two days, ranging from one day to 44 days. 6. Popularity of various social networks3. Including sharing links isnt enough. Thirty-five percent of email messages studied generated no social email clicks. Simply including sharing links doesnt cut it.Right now, your customers are writing about your products on blogs and4. Click-through rates are inconsistent. We found little correlationrecutting your commercials on YouTube. Theyre defining you on Wikipedia between many variables, such as location of the social-sharing linkand ganging up on you on social networking sites like Facebook. These in the email, offer type, whether an offer was included in the subject are all elements of a social phenomenon that has created a permanent line, format of the email, etc., and the likelihood that a message shift in the way the world works. Most companies see it as a threat. You would be shared. can see it as an opportunity.5. Facebook dominates among social networks. No matter what Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, you measure, if Facebook is one of your variables, it will generallyGroundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies outperform other networksbut there are exceptions. www.silverpop.com 1-866-SILVPOP (745-8767) 2009 Copyright Silverpop. All rights reserved. The Silverpop logo is a registered trademark of Silverpop Systems Inc.2 3. Silverpop Engagement Marketing Solutions WHITE PAPER Study Findings: Answering Marketers Frequently Asked Questions Number of Social Network Links Used - By Percentage 40% 1. Which social network links should I include in my messages? According to Nielsen, Facebook is the worlds most popular social network.35% It has more than 250 million users, almost half of which log on every day. Three in 10 people online around the world visit it each month.30% Facebook also receives the greatest amount of shared content, accord-25% ing to a study by widget maker AddToAny of the networks to which users of its content-sharing button post the most links. Its research found 24 20% percent of users posted content on Facebook, followed by 11.1 percent who generated email messages with shared links and 10.8 percent who15% posted to Twitter. 10% Not surprisingly, every social email evaluated by Silverpop included at least a link to Facebook. MySpace, Twitter and Digg were the next most 5% frequently included links. While LinkedIn was a distant fifth overall, within 0% the B2B emails analyzed, 83 percent included a link to LinkedIn. 1 23 4 % 56 Percent of Email in Which Links to7 8 Specific Networks Were Included Although our research didnt discover the magic number of links to Beboinclude, narrowing your focus to just the most important ones will help youReddit increase viral activity among the key few. Combine your survey data with Delicious analysis of which networks over time are delivering the most sharing activ- LinkedInity to narrow (or expand) your messages universe of social networks.Digg 3. Which social networks get shared most often? Twitter The Average Email Share Rate by Network is designed to understand MySpace the relative frequency of sharing per each network. To set a baseline, weFacebook calculated the individual number of shares per social network and divided by the total number of unique clicks per message. 0% 20% 40%60% 80% 100% Interestingly, while links to Facebook, MySpace and Twitter were included most often in email messages, Bebo, Delicious and LinkedIn actually had a Takeaway: While including share links to Facebook, MySpace and Twitterhigher percentage of share link clicks among the networks. are safe bets, it is critical that you identify on which networks your sub- scribers are most active. Utilize third-party research such as ForrestersAverage Email Share Rate by Network Technographics profiles and ask subscribers when they opt in, as part of a6.00% subscriber profile, or in a stand-alone subscriber survey.5.13% 5.41% 2. How many social network links should I include in my email messages? 5.00% We counted the number of network links each email message provided, whether as a text link or an icon.4.13% 4.00%3.88% 3.99% Average number of social networks included in messages: 4.5 Median number of networks included in messages: 43.07% 3.00%3.22% Number of networks ranged from 1 to 8 (The Silverpop Share-to-3.17% Social feature offered eight social networks at the time of the study.) 16% linked to 6 or more networks2.00%1.71% 60% linked to 4 or 5 networks1.19% 23% linked to 4 networks1.00% 1.24%1.48%0.85%0.95%0.83% Takeaway: There is no correct or definitive number of social sharing0.96% 0.00% links to include in your emails. Whats more important is to ensure that youBebo include links to the networks and sharing sites that align best with your Delicious Digg FacebookAverageLinkedIn content, value proposition and your subscribers social activities.MedianMySpaceRedditTwitter www.silverpop.com1-866-SILVPOP (745-8767) 2009 Copyright Silverpop. All rights reserved. The Silverpop logo is a registered trademark of Silverpop Systems Inc. 3 4. SilverpopEngagement Marketing Solutions WHITE PAPER We surmise that while marketers included share links to these networks 5. What percentage of overall clicks can I expect from social email links? (Reddit, Bebo, Delicious and LinkedIn) less frequently, when they didThe Social Email Clicks to Email Clicks metric measures how effective include these links, they were more closely aligned with their subscriberyour email was in generating share clicks as a percentage of the overall base and social habits.click-through rate of an email. It answers the question, Of the recipientswho clicked my email, how effective was my content, design, network For example, while it is safe to include a Facebook link in just about any options and other factors in motivating them to also click a share link with email, content-oriented and networking-oriented emails would be more the intent to share? It is calculated as unique email share clicks divided likely to be shared to Delicious and LinkedIn, respectively. by the total unique email clicks. Takeaway: Align the social networks you choose for your email mes- The average for the study emails is 8.7 percent, meaning that a little sages with the demographics and motivations of your subscribers and theless than one of every 10 clicks in the average email is on a share link. content and value proposition of your emails. Getting this element right will The median is 3.1 percent. greatly increase the rate of sharing from your emails. Social email clicks as a percentage of overall clicks range from 0.1percent to 100 percent. 4. What kind of click-through rates do shared messages generate? The Social Email Click-through Rate measures the click-through rate on the share links in the emails. It is calculated the same as email CTR: unique clicks divided by emails delivered. The average across all messages in the study is 0.5 percent. Social Email Click-through Rates ranged from a low of less than 0.1 percent to a high of 38.7 percent. 8.1 percent of emails have social CTRs of more than 1 percent. 49 percent of the email messages have social email CTRs of 0.1 percent or less. While the average social email CTR of 0.5% may not seem very impressive, it is roughly 1/10th of the average 4.7 percent CTR measured on the emails in this study. Its also several times higher than the average CTR on email Forward to a Friend (FTAF) links. While we are not aware of any industry studies In the top-performing quartile, the average is 25.5 percent with a on FTAF, we believe most marketers are seeing CTRs from aboutmedian 19.9 percent. 0.01 percent to 0.1 percent. In the bottom quartile, both the average and the median are 0.5 percent. In essence, for the emails in the top performing quartile, roughly 1/5 Takeaway: The low (0.1 percent or less) social email CTR on nearly half of to 1/4 of the clicks in the email were on a share-to-social link. emails may appear discouraging, but it actually confirms our expectation Some differences we uncovered between the top and bottom quar- that social sharing success takes much more effort than just slapping in atiles based on this metric: few share links. Messages in the top quartile are more likely to brand the subject line Variables such as link location (placing the social network links at the (42 percent) than messages in the bottom quartile (23 percent). top, in the middle or at the bottom of an email message) or design (text Messages in the top quartile are less likely to mention an offer in links versus the networks official icons) can have an impact on sharing,the subject line (36 percent) than the bottom quartile (55 percent). but those aspects are less important and should not be the focus of your Layout likely has some impact: Messages in the top quartile are testing efforts. For roughly the same production effort, however, the 0.5more likely to be emails with mostly text (44 percent) compared percent average social email CTR is significantly higher than the CTR on to messages in the bottom quartile, where 24 percent were email FTAF links, and the viral reach is much greater than with FTAF.considered mostly text.www.silverpop.com 1-866-SILVPOP (745-8767) 2009 Copyright Silverpop. All rights reserved. The Silverpop logo is a registered trademark of Silverpop Systems Inc. 4 5. SilverpopEngagement Marketing Solutions WHITE PAPER Takeaways: Although its not conclusive in this study, the greater prevalence of brand names in the subject line of more frequently shared email messages supports a common belief that trust and affinity are important motivators of sharing. (See the following section for more explanations about what prompts people to share content.) Also, the lower propensity to use offer-based subject lines among email messages in the top quartile supports our expectation that the subscribers own inner motivations are superior drivers of sharing over offers with simple price cuts or savings. We can only conjecture why the emails with higher share link CTRs had a higher propensity to be mostly text-based emails. It is likely that many of these text-based emails were short, focused and lacked the multitude of products, articles, images and other attributes of image-oriented emails. This singularity may have made it more logical for recipients to share these emails with their networks.6. Where should I put my social-network links to encourage more sharing: at the top, in the middle or at the bottom? As with so many email-related questions, this one has two responses, neither of which directly answers the question: 1) It depends, and 7. How many people will view my message once it gets posted on a 2) Whichever location you pick, test it, test it and test it again.network?The Social Email View Rate conveys how many additional people viewed We looked at where marketers placed their social-network links, either at thean email message after it was posted on a social network. It is expressed top, in the middle or at the bottom to see if we could uncover any trends. as a percentage of email unique opens and is calculated by dividing thetotal social network email opens by the unique number of email opens. While the majority of email marketers added social links to the bottom of the message, we could find no conclusive evidence to show that one loca- The overall average is 1 percent, and the median is 0.06 percent. tion increased sharing more than another. All link positions saw messages Nearly 11 percent of email messages see an additional 1 percent of with both high and low sharing rates, although the messages with links email views. located at the bottom had a greater percentage of high share rates. In the top performing quartile, the average is 3.9 percent, with amedian of 0.6 percent. However, without conducting A/B split testing to compare one location The highest lift was 292 percent. over another, we arent prepared yet to announce the bottom as the best location for share links.How to understand this metric: Ass...</p>