WhatsApp Marketing vs Email Marketing: Which channel is superior?

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Sending marketing emails is one of the popular strategies thatare using to generate leads, acquire new customers and improve their sales numbers. However, with emails being used for personal and professional purposes, most of these emails get lost in the noise and add to the clutter.

Since its launch in 2018, WhatsApp Business is being leveraged by a significant chunk of eCommerce businesses that have been reporting great success in their marketing efforts.

It’s only obvious that the whole comparison between email marketing and WhatsApp marketing has started doing rounds.

In this article, we’re going to share our take on why WhatsApp marketing gives you an opportunity to engage customers better, in comparison to emails.

Of course, this does not mean you should abandon your email marketing pursuits. But, you can simply add WhatsApp to your marketing mix.

Beyond Cost - Navigating the Differences between Email and WhatsApp Marketing

Comparing Email and WhatsApp marketing channels based purely on cost is akin to comparing apples to oranges.

Each channel possesses unique strengths, engaging audiences in ways others cannot. Email marketing offers breadth and depth, allowing for comprehensive storytelling and nurturing leads over time. In contrast, WhatsApp marketing introduces immediacy and personalization, forging direct customer connections.

This comparison delves into each's inherent qualities, underscoring why a holistic approach, rather than a cost-centric view, is essential for developing informed strategies in direct-to-consumer (D2C) branding.

ROI/ROAS: A Closer Look at Email vs. WhatsApp Marketing Efficiency with a Practical Example

When comparing the Return on Investment (ROI) or Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) between Email and WhatsApp marketing, surface-level analysis may misleadingly hint at Email's cost-effectiveness due to its lower platform fees and audience size considerations. This view, however, fundamentally shifts to a deeper evaluation of actual returns, particularly through the lens of campaign efficacy.

Cost Implications and Enhanced Campaign Effectiveness:

  • WhatsApp Marketing Adjustments: Initially, targeting 50,000 users at ₹0.90 per message totals ₹45,000. However, with skip rules to remove duplicates or disengaged contacts, the real audience adjusts to around 42,000, reducing costs to ₹37,800.
  • Email Marketing via Mailchimp: Stays constant with a total cost of ₹23,000 (Mailchimp Standard Plan/billed monthly) for the same audience size.

Despite WhatsApp's seemingly higher outlay, its conversion prowess in scenarios like abandoned cart recovery positions it as a potent engagement conduit.

WhatsApp Flow for Abandoned Cart Recovery Campaign via QuickReply.ai
WhatsApp Flow for Abandoned Cart Recovery Campaign via QuickReply.ai
Email Flow for Abandoned Cart Recovery Campaign via Mailchimp
Email Flow for Abandoned Cart Recovery Campaign via Mailchimp

Refined Real-world Campaign Example: Abandoned Cart Recovery:

  • Adjusted Campaign Audience for WhatsApp: 42,000
  • WhatsApp Conversion Impact: Converts 26-33% on average, resulting in 10,920 to 13,860 recovered carts.
  • Email's Conversion Performance: Maintains at 7-11% on average, equating to 3,500 to 5,500 recovered carts.

This conversion disparity underscores WhatsApp's superior capability to reclaim potential sales, attributable to its elevated open rates and personalized messaging.

Deep Dive into the Numbers with AOV Contextualization of a Beauty & Cosmetics Brand:

Incorporating an Average Order Value (AOV) of ₹800 transforms the analysis:

  • WhatsApp's Revenue Range: ₹8,736,000 to ₹11,088,000, with ROI percentages skyrocketing to 23,011% - 29,233% and ROAS figures hitting 231 - 293.
  • Email's Revenue Spectrum: ₹4,400,000 to ₹6,800,000, with ROI percentages at 12,074% to 19,030% and ROAS at 121 - 191.


This nuanced comparison reveals the intricate dynamics of cost versus return in Email and WhatsApp marketing. WhatsApp's strategic advantage, harnessed through personalized, direct communication, justifies its premium through unparalleled conversion rates, especially in critical campaigns like abandoned cart recovery. Such insights highlight the essence of evaluating marketing strategies beyond upfront costs, focusing on the comprehensive value delivered through customer engagement and conversion optimization.

WhatsApp Marketing vs Email Marketing Comparison Table

WhatsApp vs Email Marketing Comparison
  1. Open Rates:
    • Email: Has open rates between 25%-35%. While significant, it highlights the challenge of cutting through inbox clutter.
    • WhatsApp: Astonishes with a 98% open rate, offering unparalleled visibility and engagement opportunities.
  2. Personalization & Engagement:
    • Email: Allows detailed, segmented campaigns but often struggles with personal engagement levels.
    • WhatsApp: Thrives on personal interaction, with each message delivered feeling bespoke, fostering deeper customer relationships.
  3. Data Ownership & Privacy:
    • Email: Heavily relies on third-party data and cookies, facing challenges as privacy regulations tighten.
    • WhatsApp: Empowers brands with first-party data through direct customer phone numbers, ensuring resilience in a cookie-less future and maintaining customer trust.
  4. User Experience:
    • Email: Can lead to fragmented customer journeys, with prospects needing to revisit websites for more information or to complete actions.
    • WhatsApp: Enhances the user experience with persistent conversations, keeping discussions and decision-making within a single, continuous thread.
  5. Cost Dynamics:
    • Email: Offers a cost-effective scale, but the return on investment can vary based on engagement and deliverability issues.
    • WhatsApp provides a predictable cost structure for messages sent, avoiding the dynamic bidding wars common in other digital ad spaces. This makes budgeting more straightforward and potentially cost-effective during peak advertising periods.
  6. Media Support:
  • Email: Allows detailed messages with attachments, suitable for comprehensive content but may contribute to lower engagement rates.
  • WhatsApp: Encourages concise messaging with quick replies and multimedia support, enhancing user interaction and engagement.

Email Marketing vs WhatsApp Marketing

Is WhatsApp better than email for your business? With the many messaging apps available, WhatsApp seems to be the next big platform for marketing. Is it really that much better than email marketing?

Let us have a look:

More Interactive Digital Channel

People don't prefer emails as much as they used to. This is because of the slow loading and clunky interface that asks you to click through links to go to a web page and take action.

Now, if you're an eCommerce business, do you want to lose a customer before he/she even gets to know about your product? No.

So, here is the solution. You can continue with your email marketing efforts but also add WhatsApp to the marketing mix to save customers from the problem of being pushed away by the boring and tedious interface of emails.

This is because WhatsApp inherently provides marketers with several features and tools that are posed to offer an extremely engaging experience for customers.

Equipped with list nodes and more importantly actionable buttons, WhatsApp provides a great opportunity for eCommerce marketers to engage in more interactive forms of marketing.

No Fear Of Spam Filters Or Categorisation

Think of WhatsApp as a more direct tool for marketing your eCommerce business. There are no spam filters, and messages don't end up in the "Promotions" folder.

If you want to get your message into the inboxes of your customers, email is not always the best tool since it's hard to break through all the noise and guarantee that your message will be seen.

The average person receives around 100 emails every day excluding spam. That's a lot to sort through, and it's easy for a message to get buried or blocked by spam filters.

Marketing on WhatsApp cuts out this uncertainty and sends your customers a personalized, direct message from your business.

With WhatsApp marketing, you can send discount codes, create promotions and exclusive offers, share new product announcements or send out a simple thank you note to your customers without worrying about filters.

whtsapp messege templates

Leverages Two-way Communication

Email marketing is suited for more one-to-one engagement. It is so because campaigns are automated and customers can’t converse with the business. However, with the increasing dominance of mobile users on the internet, eCommerce business marketers are now using modern messaging channels such as WhatsApp for reaching out to larger audiences and engaging them in a personalized manner.

Just think about it– everyone is already using WhatsApp to chat with loved ones and friends, so wouldn't it be great if they could also use it to chat with your company? That gives you an opportunity to build stronger relationships with your customers.

And with WhatsApp Business API, you can leverage automation to still drive two-way engagement. It's pretty much the best of both worlds!

Customers Can Directly “Add to Cart”

Marketers always want to utilize new technologies that provide their clients with the best user experience possible and WhatsApp Business API is one of them.

By email, you need to go to the website and add the product to your cart which elongates the conversion procedure. Luckily, ‘Add-to-Cart’ is a great feature you can leverage while marketing on WhatsApp. On this messaging platform, it happens from within the app itself which shortens the sales cycle and makes it simpler for the shopper to purchase your product.

Add-to-Cart is especially powerful when used in conjunction with cart abandonment alerts. When you send an abandoned cart message through WhatsApp, you are able to include a CTA button that says ‘Buy Now’ (or something similar). This makes it easy for shoppers who open the message but weren't ready to buy at an earlier moment to go back to their shopping carts so they can complete the purchase.

add to cart whatsapp

Marketing Sequence Does Not Cost Extra

How do you ensure that your existing customers will choose you again?

The best way to get a customer to convert is to follow up with them. However, creating a series of emails to follow up with your customers comes at an added cost.

Nonetheless, you can do a marketing sequence at no extra cost on WhatsApp. You can set up an entire sequence with the WhatsApp Business API at no extra cost for follow up messages within 24 hours; this ensures your messages get seen and you get conversions.

For example, you send a message at 7 am, "Good morning.. You are invited to the hottest flash sale starting at 12 PM today". Then, you can send a reminder at 12:15 pm saying, "Hey, the flash sale is live and stock is running out fast. Buy before someone else does".

This works great because if someone has subscribed to your WhatsApp account they are clearly interested in buying from you. It only takes one small reminder for them to make their next purchase from you.

Higher Probability Of Media Getting Viewed

Do you have media files that you want to share with your customers? On WhatsApp, it's easier than ever to send images, gifs, and other media.

If you send an email with an image, pdf or gif, it can be tedious for both parties. As a marketer, you will have to resize the creatives and the recipient has to click through to the file, and download it which is not great if you're trying to get people to interact with your emails.

When your customer receives your message on WhatsApp, they will automatically be able to view the media without having to download it separately since most have the auto-download feature activated.

What does this mean for you? Your marketing messages get more attention (and potential sales) thanks to this more convenient way of sharing information.

WhatsApp Media Attachment

Lesser Crowded Platform

Are you constantly fighting for your customer's attention? You're not alone.

We live in a world where we get email notifications for practically everything. And that means the number of emails sent and received by businesses is skyrocketing. According to Statista, the forecasted number of business and consumer emails that were sent and received in 2021 was over 319 billion. That's a lot of noise to cut through.

But WhatsApp can help!

Right now, it's not as crowded as email inboxes are, which means your message stands a better chance of getting noticed by your customers. Not only that, the notification system works in your favor since many might mute email notifications.

All these features mean you can get your business in front of highly engaged customers, who are ready to hear what you have to say— and have the potential to turn into sales for your business.

What Should You Be Using?

Ultimately your choice of the marketing channel to be used will depend on the needs and goals of your business. But as we have seen here, there are plenty of reasons to make WhatsApp work for you. Be sure to compare it with email marketing and choose the platform that is right for your business.

Will it replace your email marketing? Not likely— but there is no reason you can't use both.

We think that is the best strategy to implement– using WhatsApp Business in conjunction with other channels as part of your overall marketing strategy. It is a more personal way to communicate with your customers, and it is a platform that your competitors are not likely to be using anytime soon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How does WhatsApp marketing benefit eCommerce businesses?

With a 98% open rate on text messages, WhatsApp marketing effectively maintains in touch with customers. Additionally, customers trust you more when you engage with them through a chat app like WhatsApp.

Q2. Is WhatsApp a good replacement for email?

WhatsApp is a more personal way of reaching out to someone than email. You can use the app's features like photos, videos, and GIFs to create a more lively experience for the reader. Plus, there's no risk of someone accidentally deleting an email before they've read it—if they don't open your message in time, they'll still get it in their inbox later on!

How WhatsApp is safer than email?

Gmail is only encrypted, whereas WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted. What this means is that any email or chat communication sent through Gmail is encrypted while it is being transmitted over a public network.

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