Here’s Why Your Social Marketing Campaigns Aren’t Working Better: Report

A new report out by email marketing software company YesMail offers some interesting conclusions about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to social media and email campaigns, including what time of day advertisers should be tweeting and what days to avoid Facebook.

While the report is blatantly promotional of YesMail’s own agenda — including advertising the company’s months’ old platform, which was used to conduct its analyses —  its findings, drawn after spending three months tracking the Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and email campaigns of 20 big retail brands like H&M and Ralph Lauren, likely offer valid clues about what’s effective.

One of those findings, and the least surprising, given the source, is that email works, especially in combination with social media platforms. Says Matt Gault, vice president of channel strategy at YesMail, “On Twitter, if [one of the brands YesMail tracked] sent out an email campaign on the same day as [launched] a Twitter campaign, its engagement score was 50 percent higher [than a company that focused on Twitter alone]. Those that sent out two emails scored 100 percent higher.”

YesMail also says that though Tuesdays are the fourth most popular workday to deploy a Facebook campaign, it should be ranked first. The reason: it’s when users are least inundated with marketing messages. “Friday is the day that most marketers push their messages — often because they know that people are off over the weekend and likely to shop,” says Gault. But “because brands A, B, C, D, E, and F are [all following the same playbook],” consumers have begun to tune out to the messaging overload.

And it turns out marketers are seriously underutilizing video on Facebook, according to YesMail, which says just 6.5 percent of campaigns it studied bothered with them, despite that “engagement was through the roof,” says Gault, particularly those videos that encouraged a specific action or featured a celebrity appearance.

Based on its research, YesMail also argues that when it comes to social media, less is more. “The top five brands for Facebook and Twitter reached out to their customers half the number of times as the bottom five brands,” says Gault. “So we think judicious marketing—making sure you’re reaching out to customers when you’re being as relevant as possible – is pretty key.”

The full study is here, but among its other observations:

• Marketers are deploying their Facebook campaigns the wrong time of day. According to YesMail, the Facebook campaigns of the brands it studied reached the highest level of interaction between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m. EST, yet the timeslot was the least utilized by marketers. Instead, the most popular time to deploy campaigns was 11a.m. to 1p.m. EST.

• More than 84 percent of Twitter campaigns occurred within regular work hours of 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST, even though 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. EST is the timeframe with the highest level of customer engagement.

• Marketers ignore more than half of the day when it comes to running YouTube campaigns.

• Just 3 percent of emails were sent after 6 p.m. EST, which YesMail notes is a “fairly consistently utilized timeslot for social campaigns.”

• The most interaction on YouTube occurs on Monday, but Mondays are right now the least used weekdays for campaign deployment.

YesMail is a subsidiary of database provider InfoGroup, which had troubles as a public company (its founder was accused of using corporate funds to “support his lavish lifestyle,”) but has been in the database business since the early ‘70s. It was taken private in 2010 by CCMP Capital Advisors for about $460 million in cash.

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