Will Social Media Replace Email?

October 22, 2013By
Social Media Email

Will younger generations use email? Probably, but in different ways than we use it today.

95% of online consumers use email.

There are a lot of stats out there about email.

It’s easy to look at that stat and think that email is here to stay forever.

My personal experience with email is that I use it all the time. Every day I have my email open all day long. I use it to communicate with the team at GBW, with clients and with friends. I also receive a few commercial emails each day so the communication medium is very much a part of my life.

When I worked in the corporate world my colleagues were pretty clued in with email while at work.

Then when smartphones starting to come out it seemed like more people were checking their email more often – both personal and work email.

There are a lot of different ways people use email, but I don’t think social media will replace email.

A few years ago I remember reading a post and I can’t find it right now, but the post described that a person’s inbox was a place where they could be in control. They could own the inbox in a way. They controlled what came in and what went out.

That was one of the big differences with using email versus using a social network.

I think for some things social media has taken away the necessity of email.

For some it’s no longer necessary to send an email to family with updates because you can just logon to Facebook and post a single update for everyone to see.

One study does say that the rate of emails sent and received is slowing, but the interesting thing is that the rate is still increasing.

Preferred Channels

As we go through life we kind of develop preferred channels of communication.

Once we reach a certain age – maybe around 30-40 – we begin to get stuck in our preferred ways. Those in their 60s still talk on the phone for hours and hours. Those in their 40s still check Yahoo! and MSN every morning before starting work. Those in their 30s look on Google News and Twitter and those in their 20s check Instagram on their phone while texting their friends for the latest news.

That’s a generalization obviously, but the point is that each of these segments of people have preferred channels. People in certain segments of the population will always use email the way we’ve been using it for 10+ years.

The younger generations is where you’ll see the change.

Some will use social media more than email, but it seems that email will still have a purpose. It’s a medium people seem to own.

But email as the place for all online communication will probably not be the case. There are a growing number of communication channels and the younger generations are finding their preferred channels.

There seems to be less loyalty with communication channels among younger generations. They’ll probably stumble on the ones they prefer as the years pass, but right now it’s pretty varied.

Will social media replace email?

Not entirely.

Those that use email today will continue to use it. They’re comfortable with it and it’s what they prefer.

Email also still serves the purpose of private (or seemingly private) communication. That could change, but for now it’s not the case.

Social media and other channels will dip into email’s marketshare. Younger generations will probably have their preferred channels.

What does this mean for your small business?

Don’t give up on email marketing. There is a lot of money to be made with the channel. When 95% of the online world uses email you want to pay attention. Not even Google, Facebook and Twitter can claim that type of number.

Build your email program especially if you know your target demographic uses it.

If you’re targeting young generations, though, you’ll want to identify the emerging channels. Start seeing if there is a way to form a marketing strategy around those as these consumers develop into their adult lives with preferred channels.

Image: paz.ca