Report: Social Media Users Are More Likely To Check Email

A new white paper, published by Merkle Inc., suggests that social media users are more likely to check their email inboxes than people who do not use social media. The study, conducted in Fall 2009, had several interesting findings. While many reports have suggested that Facebook and other social networks are replacements to email, this report would suggest that users are much more likely to use both products together.

As eMarketer suggests, some of the interesting findings of the report include:

  1. Over 70% of respondents spend 20 minutes per week or more in their email inboxes.
  2. Time spent on email has not changed. (This measure is specifically related to personal and social email between friends and family.)
  3. Of those who check mobile email and do so regularly throughout the day, 28% are social networkers whereas 14% are not.

The study suggests a few reasons why social networkers are actually checking their regular email inboxes more often, despite other reports indicating that social media is replacing email. One strong possibility is that social media account notifications are sent to regular inboxes. Most sites allow this to be turned off but often have it as a default setting. Another possibility has to do with the wider use of mobile email access amongst “younger” social media users, coupled with the fact that the same age group tends to be more active on social media sites than their older counterparts.

Could another possibility be the fact that most social networking sites, while offering some sort of “inbox,” are sorely lacking in important email features? Maybe this is something that Facebook changes with their rumored in-the-works Titan email client. It’ll be interesting to see how such a social media-based email client affects the use of regular email.