EmailTray Universal Smart Email Notifier

October 22, 2009

Reader Statistics for Twitter, Facebook & Other Social Network Notifications

Filed under: Email Deliverability,Gmail,Social Networking,twitter — EmailTray @ 14:34

Anyone who sends Email has an interest in others actually reading what was sent. Social network notifications, often referred to as BACN, are Emails that can be thought of as having been “sent” by people who have tried to interact with someone via a service like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

But do those Emails get read as much as regular Email? Not on your life.

Only about 25% of such Email gets opened and read for more than 3 seconds – according to user statistics for SenderOK garnered from the behavior of 440 anonymous Email receivers over a one-week period.

This is not to say that the Email users don’t care about the attempts by others to communicate with them. It may and probably does mean only that social network users prefer to find out about those attempts only when logged onto the social networks themselves. In fact, we believe that the more one logs onto a social network, the less likely one is to open an Email notification. This is shown for example, in the SenderOK statistic that Facebook use, as measured by the number of notifications received, is 4X higher than Twitter use and 5X higher than LinkedIn use…yet Facebook notifications are only opened and read (for 3+ seconds) 13% of the time while the notifications of the other two have a 25% open rate.

If you think those statistics are interesting, how about this: as measured by when notifications are read or ignored in the receiver’s time zone, Twitter use peaks at 11AM and 5PM while Facebook use peaks at 9AM and 9PM on most days (SenderOK will examine weekend use in a separate study). LinkedIn use is predominantly an 8AM-Noon activity with very, very little activity in the evening. Of particular interest is that LinkedIn users tend to arrive at work earlier than Facebook users do.

Facebook Notification Read Times (Reader Time Zone)
What this means is that a marketer or anyone else in New York City who wants to socially network in real time with others in their time zone, will arrive at work early and use LinkedIn first thing in the morning, especially if they want to connect with the type of manager who tries to get things done before 9AM. Then they will use Facebook exactly at 9AM before “Tweeting the Peak” between 10AM and 1PM. Just before leaving work for the day, one can “Tweet the Peak” once again between 5PM and 6PM (noting that west coast contacts are just getting back from lunch around that time) and leave Facebook messages that will most likely be read around 9PM on a home PC or notebook.

People are most likely to be away from their computers at 7PM their time – which may or may not be an excellent time to catch them on a mobile device (SenderOK cannot yet measure mobile activity).

What does the huge 9PM rush to Facebook mean for the future of prime-time television? That is a question for TV executives to take notice of and ponder. It seems very clear, at least from Facebook notification reader statistics, that prime time television programming is either not holding its audience past the end of its 8PM-9PM time slot, or people are logging in exactly at 9PM to let each other know about what shows to watch the rest of the evening. We’ve found that Twitter is the only social network of the three that experiences particularly heavy activity later in the night, particularly between 11PM and Midnight user time.

Are you interested in more interesting statistics? Here are some:

1) Those serious early morning LinkedIn users will spend an average of 29 minutes reading real Email before they get around to checking your connection request which they could have read first if they wanted to. 76% of LinkedIn users have Microsoft Outlook as their primary Email client. 10% of these users find the LinkedIn notifications going to the Outlook Spam box, possibly because they marked them as spam.

2) Facebook notifications are regularly sent by Microsoft Live to the Spam box (at least this was the trend last week). Facebook is the only big social network whose “notification receivers” are spread out among all major Email client users (Outlook, Live, Gmail and Yahoo – we did not test with AOL). In general, we’ve found that webmail users don’t like getting social notifications while Outlook users seem to have a knack for storing them.

3) For instance, Gmail, Live and Yahoo users prefer more often than Outlook users to cancel receipt of Twitter notifications. We found a lop-sided proportion of Twitter notifications being received in Outlook and it was clear that they were being stored in a separate folder as Outlook users were extremely unlikely to have Twitter notifications go to the spam box.

3) Although Amazon is not a social network, it is of interest to note that Amazon notifications are more likely than any other major “notifiers” to be phishing attempts. 15% of Amazon notifications are not really from Amazon. Amazon notifications are read only during the day, peaking at 9AM, except there is also some brief activity from those above-mentioned 9PM Email users.

As noted above, this early SenderOK Statistics report is based on a relatively small sample of 440 anonymous users. We can, therefore, only talk about the reaction to the world’s most popular Email senders.

As we increase our ability to measure much larger sample sizes, we will be able to help a lot more Email Senders judge the dynamics of their readership.

Allen MacCannell Email: & Mobile: +380 93 031 6742


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  1. I never realized that – thanks for all your research.. that’s very helpful !

    Comment by Jane Idol — October 22, 2009 @ 19:04 | Reply

  2. I agree. When I receive those messages I usually don’t even open them. They get deleted immediately. Besides, I think with so many spammers sending junk mail millions and millions of times a day, email marketing is dead and has been for some time.

    Comment by Dave Patterson — October 23, 2009 @ 06:32 | Reply

  3. […] are so time-sensitive, be sure to factor this into your social media strategy.  Check out this article for more detailed information on the peak times of Twitter, Facebook, and […]

    Pingback by Launch Planning - Boost the Buzz Around Your New Site | Boston Interactive's Big Ideas Blog — November 12, 2009 @ 20:29 | Reply

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