Study: E-mail Marketing Preferred

NEW YORK Web users are far more willing to share personal information with marketers via e-mail than on social networking sites, according to new research commissioned by lead generation specialty firm Pontiflex.

The new study, conducted by Harris Interactive, found that just 12 percent of online adults have been willing to share information like their Facebook user name or their Twitter handle with a brand in exchange for information or promotional offers. However, a whopping 96 percent of online adults who have actually taken the step of providing brands personal information have shared their e-mail addresses with marketers.

That trend would seem to run counter to most American consumers complaints about spam, as well as many Web users’ demonstrated willingness to share all sorts of personal information via social networks. Yet in Harris’ study — which surveyed 2,064 adults age 18 and older from Sept. 2-4 — just 17 percent of online adults 18-34, 8 percent of adults 35-44 and 7 percent of users 45-54 claimed to be OK with sharing social networking information with brands.

Pontiflex’s business is focused on acquiring leads for advertisers online by targeting users on content sites and social networks, or by directly acquiring e-mail addresses through various channels. The company claims Kimberly-Clark and BlackBerry as customers.

According to Pontiflex’s interpretation of the research results, users may be more comfortable with sharing via e-mail because of its opt-in nature — and brands may need to start with that relationship with users before jumping into acquiring leads via social networking environments.

“Building a relationship in the social networking space is not very different from building a relationship in the real world,” said Pontiflex CEO and co-founder Zephrin Lasker. “Once marketers have built relationships and trust through e-mail, they then engage consumers in relevant ways on social networking sites.”

Nielsen Business Media