MUNICH: Email and display advertising remain more widely-used tools than social media among European marketers, new research has revealed.

Specialist software and services provider eCircle surveyed 607 executives from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK to gain an insight into contemporary digital strategies.

It reported 57% of contributors currently leverage email to reach consumers, measured against 48% concerning display advertising and 44% when discussing social media.

Elsewhere, 39% of those polled were utilising paid search and optimisation tools for organic listings on platforms like Google and Bing.

Affiliate marketing lodged 34%, ahead of mobile's 31%, exactly the same score as recorded by pre- and post-roll online video.

Engagement with offerings like Facebook proved highest in Spain and the UK, where roughly half of the respective national panels had forged a presence on such Web 2.0 sites.

Totals hit 49% in the Netherlands, 41% looking at Germany, 38% covering France and 37% for Italian operators.

The most popular methods used on social networks were advertising, employed by 70% of relevant companies, while fan pages logged 60% and sponsoring pages or activities delivered 59%.

Another 54% of the sample uploaded viral content to encourage word of mouth and 48% had developed applications.

Facebook was the number one property in terms of uptake across all of the countries assessed, followed universally by Twitter, although the microblogging portal shared second position with Xing and MySpace in Germany.

Advertising new products constituted the primary usage of social media, mentioned by 51% of applicable firms, beating building brand awareness with 50%, and customer acquisition, on 49%.

Market research and deepening interaction with the target audience both posted 47%, but experimentation was still a hallmark of many models.

The email tactics attracting interest included sending out newsletters to contacts on an official database, a move implemented by 75% of businesses regularly exploiting this channel.

Promoting goods in other newsletters registered 69%, product recommendations yielded 66% and transactional messages secured 64%.

The main reasons for using email actually matched those witnessed on social media, the study said.

Some organisations are pursuing an integrated approach, with around a third adding "social sharing" options to emails, linking such material to profile pages and incorporating user-generated content in mailings.

Data sourced from eCircle; additional content by Warc staff