Email ranks highest for ROI

Email marketing edged out SEO as the marketing channel with the best ROI this year, according to more than 1,000 marketers who responded to the Econsultancy Email Marketing Industry Census 2014.

Top 5 marketing channels for ROI

In the recent survey, 68% of companies rated email as a good or excellent investment, a number that has remained relatively constant for the past three years. A 12% drop since 2012 for search engine optimization/organic search pushed email to the top of the list in 2014. Content marketing and paid search changed little from 2012, but offline direct marketing (print, direct mail, etc.) rose 7% on the list of best channels for ROI in 2014.

ROI for email marketing seo content marketing paid search direct marketing

Bottom 4 marketing channels for ROI

There was also movement in the channels marketers rated lowest for ROI. Affiliate marketing remained steady, but mobile dropped 6%, online display advertising climbed 5%, and social media dropped by 12% in rankings by marketers. Social media just doesn’t seem to be delivering the returns that marketers are looking for with their investments of time and money, and was rated excellent or good by only 32% of marketers.

roi for affiliate marketing mobile marketing online display advertising social media

What does the future hold?

With the drop in ROI of SEO and organic search possibly because of ongoing changes in the way search engines rank websites, marketers may be returning to the more traditional “push” methods of marketing such as direct mail and banner advertising. We’ll be keeping our eyes on the numbers in the coming months to see what 2015 brings, but with email marketing being a low-cost method of reaching customers, we’re betting on email as the best investment for your online marketing dollars.