One of the more well-received presentations at HostingCon 2011 was by Jeff Hardy of SmarterTools about the importance of email. The presentation has been put online and accompanied by an infographic that displays the difference in size and value between email and its closest competitors.
To quickly summarize the data in the graphic:
- Websites: There are 463 million websites, this term meant in the most general sense, that are currenly online with about 3.3 billion daily searches.
- Google+: There are 10 million accounts (obviously this is higher now, since they've had over 25 million users since August) and about 1 billion items shared on the site daily.
- Twitter: Twitter has more than 300 million accounts, though new statistics tell us that over 50 percent of those are inactive, and registers about 140 million tweets a day.
- Facebook: The world's largest and most infuential social network has over 750 million users and sees about 60 million updates every day.
- Email: Across the world, there are 2.9 billion email accounts, or the equivalent of approximately 42% of the world's population, and there are 188 billion messages sent each day.
This means that there are about 3 times as many email accounts as there are registered Facebook and Twitter users combined. Daily posts on those two social networking sites only account for 0.2 percent of the email traffic that occurs in a single day. The total number of searches on Google, Yahoo! and Bing, combined, is only about 1.1 percent of daily email traffic. Finally, the total number of page views on the Internet every day still only accounts for one-fourth of all of the emails sent.
Hmm, what possible conclusion could this draw? Well, let's go out on a limb and say that email is important. Web companies should take note of the power that their email has and how much it means to a company like Google, who find value in users above and beyond the price of email hosting.
As the infographic states, "Email is the most used, most valuable and highly-prized real estate on the Internet. This is why everyone wants it."
It's clear that even with the social media revolution in full swing, it's still going to be a long, long time before email is dethroned as the ruling power in Web business and marketing.