With Facebook facing criticism over its use of customer data, companies should start considering whether they lean too hard on the site for marketing. In other words: Do they really want their fortunes tied to the way the tech giant treats users?
Marketers already know that relying on Facebook leaves them vulnerable to the site’s changes and challenges. What they might not know is that email delivers four times higher ROI (122%) than social media marketing.
And a key difference with email is that the data subscribers share with you creates clear personal benefits for them as customers – instead of creating benefits for Facebook.
Engagement for advantage
The Cambridge Analytica scandal put data sharing in the headlines for all the worst reasons.
But when done properly, data sharing doesn’t downgrade the customer experience – it enhances it. And users want it to: According to stats in Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends Report, 79% of consumers are willing to share personal data for “clear personal benefit.”
Email creates a way to deliver those clear personal benefits to customers every day. And, unlike on Facebook, it happens in a transparent way.
Customers share their email addresses (by subscribing) because they want the brand to improve their day. If it does, they’ll open the brand’s emails more often – on more and more of their devices.
The more users engage, the better the benefits become. Cross-device data on open rates, clicks, and engagement helps brands understand and ID the “power users” in their email lists.
With that info, marketers can deliver MVP subscribers with highly applicable ads, personalized content, right-time offers, and triggered email campaigns. These efforts drive ROI by giving users the “personal” benefit of what they want, when they want it.
Best of all, the ROI is earned in response to users’ activity in their own inboxes. The benefits are based on their relationship with the brand itself – not with Facebook.
Facebook has delivered effective, reliable targeting for brands and publishers for a long time. But while it will continue to be useful for years to come, the relationship between Facebook and its marketing customers is already fraught.
The tech giant will always do what’s best for its own revenue (not necessarily its clients’). That’s why unexpected algorithm changes often absorb brands’ marketing budgets in exchange for little ROI.
And with consumers growing wary of how Facebook uses their data, algorithm changes aren’t the only risk. Brands’ existing marketing tactics might falter if more users flee the platform.
Through email, however, marketers can understand users at an individual level without relying on the fortunes of Facebook or any of the other walled gardens. As data sharing gets more sensitive, that makes smart sense for every brand.