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messenger or email

Email marketing is a strategy most business owners and marketers are familiar with and possibly will have some experience with. Several well-known brands have built their entire business model around it. Several studies and surveys have shown email to be one of the most cost-effective ways to market goods and/or services – when done right.

However, as communication evolves, email is starting to look seriously outdated due to emerging communication channels such as Whatsapp, Slack and Facebook Messenger.

In 2016 Facebook made some big changes to Messenger with the introduction of chatbots which allowed businesses to automate conversations directly within Facebook Messenger, let’s see how it compares to email.

TARGETING

With email you can upload and segment your own customer data into your preferred email marketing platform such as Mailchimp or Sendgrid. Of course, you can purchase data from third-party email data providers although this practice isn’t as popular as it once was due to tighter regulations and spam controls client-side. The effectiveness of email campaigns is largely due to the quality of the email database.

The targeting options available on Facebook allow businesses to be extremely granular or broad depending on your business objectives. You can also upload your own customer data such as emails, Facebook user IDs or phone numbers to create custom lookalike audiences. Facebook will usually match between 60-75% of the contacts on your external source upload lists.

The superior targeting options available on Facebook Messenger make it quicker and easier to scale a relevant subscriber list.

Winner: Facebook Messenger

ENGAGEMENT & CONSUMPTION

The way users interact and consume content within email and messenger are very different.

Emails typically contain long-form content that cover everything you want to talk about in one single hit.

Unlike email marketing, messenger marketing is a two-way communication channel. The inputs sent by the user will determine the response/flow of the Messenger bot which allows for 1000s of possible permutations creating a highly personalised experience which can be consumed at the users own pace.

Email also has some tricks of its own such as automated email sequence campaigns which allows you to send behavioural triggered emails. These automated campaigns get sent to your audience automatically when they do certain things.

Messenger bots also allow you to create automated sequences for specific groups of your subscribers, with the use of custom attributes this can be a very powerful tool. You can add custom attributes tags throughout the conversational experience to help you track the flow of the conversation and help identify potential bottlenecks in your user flows.

Messenger is highly optimized to capture user preferences and is easier to digest in a mobile first world.

Messenger bots can have CTRs ranging from 20% to 60%, that’s 8X more clicks than the average email campaign!

email vs messenger

Messenger bots also outperform email campaigns when it comes to open rates, with Messenger open rates ranging from 70% to 90%, much higher than the 15% to 25% open rates you experience with email.

Winner: Messenger

PLATFORM AWARENESS

People are simply more acquainted with email and its interface but that is quickly changing as usage of messenger channels continues to grow. An estimated 281 billion emails are sent every day by the world’s 3.8 billion email users.

messenger vs social media graph

Despite social messaging platforms (Facebook Messenger, Kik, etc.) overtaking social media platforms (Facebook, Instragram, etc.) in daily usage, brands and marketers still invest more marketing budget in social media and email rather than messenger marketing – it’s a costly oversight but smart businesses are now starting to invest in the proper channels.

Winner: Email

FINAL THOUGHTS

It might take a little muscle to build a Messenger bot but the effort is well worth it. New regulations from Facebook should help prevent the rise of spam and allow for Messenger to become everything email should have been.

Like everything in life, it’s important not to put everything in one basket, both email marketing and messenger marketing are great at what they do and work even better together.

Winner: Messenger