How Does Email Marketing
ROI Stack Up Against
Other Digital Channels?

Written by Rob Lane.

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Where should you focus your digital marketing spend? What channel online will give you the most effective ROI?

Most people, including your customers, are now online for large portions of the day. From their computer in the office, their mobile device during rush hour, to their smart watch during their evening run. Ofcom, the UK government’s regulatory body for telecommunications, found that between the years 2005 and 2014, average internet use of Britons aged 16 or over had doubled. From an average of 10 hours a week in 2005 to over 20 hours in 2014.

Across all industries marketers know this, which is why marketing budgets have increasingly moved from offline channels to online channels. Consider these statistics:

However, what remains unknown is just which digital marketing channel to invest in – it’s an ever-evolving landscape. Facebook Newsfeed algorithm updates and Google penalties means that one channel can be on top one year, then go down the next.

In this article we’ll go through different ways one can market their business compare their return on investment, so you can confidently decide where best to spend your marketing dollars.

Digital Marketing Is Now A Must

Traditional, offline marketing still has it’s place and can be a key component of the marketing mix, but we all know that digital is the way to go, now and into the foreseeable future:

"No Longer can entrepreneurs focus solely on billboards and direct mailers. In Today's market, it's imperative to include online marketing as a major component of any company plan... email, social media, and SEO are three of the major ways companies use their online platform to drive business"


Why? Not only because your market is spending more and more of their time online as we’ve already discussed, but because of the benefits that digital marketing can offer. Digital offers a wealth of data-driven insights and the ability to offer segmented campaigns of the like that offline marketers can only dream about.

Which Digital Channels Offer The Best ROI?

Not every type of digital marketing channel will produce the same kind of results, or return on investment. According to the Email Marketing Industry Census 2014 (see graph below), by Econsultancy, which is based on a detailed survey of 1,100 in-house marketers, “email marketing was ranked as the best channel in terms of return on investment, with 68% of companies rating the channel as ‘good’ or ‘excellent.’”


Driven by increasingly sophisticated forms of personalized, data-driven email marketing, ROI ratings increased by 3% from 2013 to edge out SEO as the number one digital channel for those who drive marketing efforts 365 days a year. Social media, which was everyone’s darling only a few years ago before Facebook tanked organic postings in favor of paid ads, has slipped back to number 6. The Econsultancy survey also revealed that smarter email marketing campaigns, that are truly consumer-centric and make full use of the platform’s maturing functionality, are driving greater returns for those marketers who know how to serve up the kinds of promotions email subscribers are hungry for:

"On average, companies are attributing 23% of their total sales to the email marketing channel, compared to 18% in 2013. This equates to a proportionate rise of 28% in just one year.

One proven way to boost ROI is to make use of functions such as personalization, automation, dynamic content and mobile optimization. The report shows that there is a trend where email ROI increases markedly with increased use of email platform functionality."


The Personal Appeal Of Email Marketing

The majority of us are receptive to receiving personalized, targeted emails that offer real value to us as individuals, right alongside personal email messages in our inbox:

Control The X Factor Of Email

Email also offers a much greater level of control vs. other digital channels. SEO results are often influenced by major changes in the Google Algorithm. 

Social media platforms, being privately owned by companies who must ultimately monetize them, are also subject to constant changes that can challenge even the most creative digital marketers. According to Chris Penn, Vice President of Marketing Technology, at Boston-based PR firm Shift Communications:

"It's the one outbound digital communication method that is vendor-agnostic… Facebook, Twitter, etc. are all privately held entities, not open Internet protocols, and that ensures that email will remain relevant for some time to come."

Email Marketing Is Far From Dead

It’s a popular trend online to declare that a marketing channel is dead, many hypothesized that Gmail categories kill email, but marketing emails are not only not dead, it seems email is here to stay. Here are a few email marketing statistics that prove this channel will be here for the long term:

As the saying goes, a bad workman blames his tools. It’s clear that email is one of the best channels to invest in terms of ROI. But how you conduct your email marketing will dictate how good your open rates, conversion rates, and click-through rates are. Metrics which ultimately affect email marketing ROI.


Compared to other online marketing channels such as paid search, SEO and social media, Email Marketing is the channel which will give you the most ROI according to data offered by marketing insiders.

However, even if this wasn’t the case, we’d argue that email marketing is still a necessary medium to invest in. All other online marketing channels are owned by companies who can change their algorithms at a moment’s notice, plunging your business growth into uncertainty. But, email is not owned by any single entity and will remain for years to come, bullet-proofing your investment from any sudden changes.

Want to get the most bang for your back in digital marketing? Invest in email. Your business will thank you years down the road.

If you’re an ecommerce merchant and don’t have automated email marketing campaigns setup for your store, you’re losing money. Right now. makes it easy to start using automated email campaigns for common challenges like: Welcome Series, Abandoned Carts, Order Follow-up emails and more! You can learn more about our powerful email marketing automation features here or go ahead and get started right away by using for FREE.

And if you’re one of the thousands of merchants who are already using Rare’s Smart Email Marketing software and want to see how our Customer Success Team can work with your brand to grow your revenue – feel free to book a call at your convenience here.

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