Sharing email messages on social networks can increase your reach by exposing your messages to large audiences beyond your subscribers in ways forwarding to friends can't match.
That's one finding revealed in Silverpop's new study, "Emails Gone Viral: Measuring 'Share to Social' Performance," now available as a free report.
This new study analyzes key aspects of social sharing and uses a new series of benchmark metrics we created to report our findings. Leverage these benchmarks to assess the performance of your own social-sharing program or to forecast what you might expect before launching a campaign.
study report also presents a detailed set of best-practice recommendations and a comprehensive list of additional resources to help you maximize the benefit of your email social-sharing initiatives.
5 Key Study Findings
1. Share-to-Social significantly outperforms FTAF. Even though social sharing is still new to email marketing and consumers in general, it is already outperforming that old standard, forward to a friend. We found that organic social sharing rates (done without an incentive or reward) average 0.5 percent, compared to an estimated 0.1 percent or less when sharing via forward-to-a-friend links. Based on an average overall click-through-rate of approximately 5 percent, this means that 1 out of 10 clicks is on a social sharing link.
2. Share-to-Social's biggest return may be its extended reach. With the average number of social network friends in the 100-200 range, the promise of social sharing to greatly expand exposure to email messages is strong. To understand this additional reach, we developed a model as part of this study, which estimates that social sharing delivered an average 24.3 percent increase in reach. On top of that, the shared messages generated on average another 1 percent of message opens.
3. Facebook rules, but … All the email messages we studied included a link to share the email on Facebook, and Facebook, along with MySpace and Twitter, accounted for the majority of messages shared to networks. However, links shared to Bebo, Delicious and LinkedIn actually drew a higher percentage of clicks.
4. Brands in subject lines tend to beat offers. While specific creative elements did not seem to factor heavily into an email's shareability, we found that the emails most frequently shared were more likely to feature a brand or product name in the subject line rather than a specific offer.
5. Sharing activity lasts about one week. As with email in the inbox, the majority of opens and clicks of shared emails occur in the first couple of days following posting on a social site. On average, the last click on a shared email messages occurs about seven days after the initial share, with activity ranging from 1 to 44 days.
Download Study and Additional Resources
Following is the link to register and download the study, and additional related articles and resources:
• "Emails Gone Viral: New Measurement of 'Share to Social' Performance"
• "Email Marketing Goes Social: What It Takes to Make Email Sharing Work" (Webinar recording)
• Silverpop's "Share-to-Social" Feature (video)
• Posts from Silverpop's Engagement Marketing blog with advice, tips and tactics for incorporating email into social networks
We welcome your comments and questions on the study, our recommendations and other aspects of social sharing. Post them the comments section below, and look for our response in future blog posts.