Why email is better than social for acquisition

Email is the most cost-effective, direct way to reach people online. Users have stronger intent in email since they have to click into a newsletter in order to interact with content, rather than mindlessly scrolling through social media. These active users are the kind of subscribers that will open and engage with emails, not merely sign up for lists and leave newsletters unopened and unread. Since there are more steps to acquire these email addresses, it begs the question: Is there a preferred paid advertising channel to obtain these email addresses? Would an email address acquired by any other means smell as sweet? 

At LiveIntent, we believe the best way to acquire email addresses is at the source: in email. Reaching readers in the space where you want to engage them leads to more valuable users (rather than, say, users who clicked on an ad in their social media feed to sign up for an email newsletter). Since you’re reaching people who are already engaged in email, they’re a fan of the channel, and are therefore more likely to engage with a new publisher through their inbox as well.

1440 case study

We may be a little biased since we love email and want everyone to see its value as much as we do – so we were ecstatic when we were able to work with 1440 and found their findings to be just the validation we were looking for (read the entire case study here). 

1440 is a news site that sends a daily, free newsletter that provides an impartial view on topics such as culture, science, sports, and politics to over 3.5 million subscribers (you can sign up for their newsletter here). They wanted to diversify their advertising spend beyond social media to acquire a broader audience of active subscribers who would open and engage with their newsletter on a daily basis. 

LiveIntent and 1440 Media teamed up on a strategy for an acquisition campaign in email, and in reviewing the results, 1440 Media found that subscribers acquired in email were 2.5x more likely to open their emails compared to the subscribers who were acquired via social media. 

So what does that look like? Let’s say you acquire 200k new email addresses, with half acquired from social media and the other half from email (via LiveIntent). Those 100k email addresses found via email are worth far more, as they exhibit a 2.5-fold propensity to engage, leading to higher engagement metrics. As for the half acquired from social media? Taking the 34% average open rate for media newsletters into account, then you’ll have maybe 34,000 of those users opening your email.  

With the industry continuing to evolve and the web becoming uncertain (when? if?) third-party cookies say goodbye, more publishers are embracing the reliability of email and its logged-in fountain of first party data that falls outside the walled gardens. And there’s no better way to learn how to find and engage those loyal email subscribers than with LiveIntent. Reach out to schedule a meeting today. 

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