by  Bob Hoffman (@adcontrarian), San Francisco Bay Over four years ago, in a post entitled Looking For Volunteers, I wrote the following…

“TAC predicts that when the frenzy over Facebook, Twitter, and other social media calms down and the dust clears, email and search will continue to be the dreariest and most productive forms of online advertising.”

In an article on Monday  entitled “Email Is Crushing Twitter, Facebook for Selling Stuff OnlineWired had this to say:

“An endless stream…of advice from marketing consultants warns businesses that they need to “get” social… Despite the hype… it’s relatively antique tech that appears to be far more important for selling stuff online.

Wired’s source for this article was a company called Custora that studied “72 million customers shopping on 86 different retailer sites.” Their conclusion: search and email are far more effective at generating sales results than Facebook, Twitter and banner ads.

This chart summarizes their findings:


Here’s a little recap of what Wired reported:

  • “Over the past four years, online retailers have quadrupled the rate of customers acquired through email”
  • “Facebook over that same period barely registers as a way to make a sale, and the tiny percentage of people who do connect and buy over Facebook has stayed flat.”
  • “By far the most popular way to get customers was “organic search,” according to the report, followed by “cost per click” ads (in both cases, read: Google)”
  • “Email customers were nearly 11 percent more valuable than average. Facebook customers were just about average. Twitter customers, meanwhile, were 23 percent less valuable than average during the two years following that first click.”
  • “Custora found that Google’s ads… lead not only to clicks but to purchases”

Now, of course, this shouldn’t surprise any of the brilliant readers of The Ad Contrarian. We explained why Google was so effective and Facebook was such a whack-off in this post almost two years ago.

Social media may very well be the most over-hyped of all the online advertising miracles. Which is like being the deadest guy in the graveyard.

– The Ad Contrarian is Bob Hoffman, is the author of The Ad Contrarian and 101 Contrarian Ideas About Advertising. Reprinted from his blog The Ad Contrarian.

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