Stats published on Mashable today show that mobile users are spending 1.4 times longer on social media sites than email. Why?
Well, the study quoted says that “the increased need for instant gratification” is a factor. But let’s put this in context – on a mobile device, when you’re probably on the move and might lose reception, that makes sense. And “the ability to offer multiple messaging formats” apparently was high up the list. That factor, unlike the first, does translate directly onto home- or office-based computers too. The email is the letter – answer, response, long pauses in between. Social media offers the possibility of a phone conversation – real-time interaction, chatter. And much, much more.
So, will email decline? Not drastically or immediately, I would say. There’s still plenty of need for longer, more reflective documents, and email is the de-facto medium for these. But like the letter, it could become more the province of business users for more formal or lengthy documents, and less what people use for chat.
What does that say about where businesses want to be? Well, it depends what they’re trying to achieve. Direct mail is still alive and well, alongside direct email. Telemarketing is a thriving business, but charities, for instance (who really NEED an instant ‘buy’ from consumers) still have street campaigns too. Businesses need to leverage the best of the new technologies with the best of the old.
In the end, you need to be where your customer is, both speaking and listening. And increasing, on the move, that is on social media sites.