When it comes to direct marketing media strategies, email remains king among advertisers while social media is gaining ground and running a close second, according to an ANA study.

The study, Response Rate Report 2021: Performance and Cost Metrics Across Direct Media, revealed that email was the most used medium in all campaign types (B2B, B2C, and split B2B/B2C), averaging an 82 percent usage rate among respondents. Social media came in second at 74 percent.

Beyond email and social media, the report included overall findings for paid search (51 percent), digital display advertising (42 percent), direct mail (38 percent), and SMS (18 percent).

Although email was the top media choice chosen by marketers, its usage has declined 6 percent since the last Response Rate Report was issued in 2018 while social media advertising scored the most significant shift in reported usage, up 17 percent since the last study.

In terms of ROI, survey respondents indicated that while they certainly make use of modern technology in their direct marketing efforts, traditional methods such as sending messages in a letter-sized envelope via the U.S. Post Office can be remarkably effective. Those who did so reported a 112 percent ROI, followed closely by SMS at 102 percent and email at 93 percent.

The mail format that produced the best ROI to “house” lists was postcards (92 percent). The mail format that produced the best ROI to “prospect” lists was letter-sized envelopes (112 percent), the highest of all formats. Other notable formats to prospect lists include dimensional and oversized envelopes, both of which eclipsed 90 percent ROI.

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