Four times as many teens choose SMS over Facebook

While some e-mail marketers fear losing the attention of their audience to social media, research suggests that the strengths of both media can be combined, and that the bigger threat may be text messaging.

An ExactTarget survey of adults and teens on their favorite communication methods showed that was also true among the younger set. Asked to choose between e-mail and Facebook—their preferred social network—33% of respondents ages 15 to 17 picked e-mail and 31% Facebook. About one-quarter liked both equally.

When Facebook went head-to-head with text messaging, it performed even worse: 48% of teens would rather communicate via SMS, compared with just 12% who chose Facebook.

Texting also won out over e-mail. Among adults, however, a preference for e-mail was still strong.

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Texting was the communication activity teens were most likely to report having increased over the past six months, according to the ExactTarget survey. There were also significant numbers of teens using Facebook, meeting in person and communicating via e-mail more, but most respondents held those activities steady.

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Adults are doing more texting too: One-quarter of respondents ages 18 and up told ExactTarget they were upping their usage. Still, nearly one-third said they never texted, a far cry from the 13% of teens who said the same.

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