Customer Acquisition Via Email Is Skyrocketing Compared To Other Channels

    July 1, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Custora has a new report out looking at ecommerce customer acquisition, finding that email continues to trend upward rapidly from year to year, and is well ahead of affiliate, banner ads, Facebook and Twitter. In fact, email had quadrupled over the past four years, according to the firm.

Do you have more success acquiring customers through email or through social channels like Facebook and Twitter? Let us know in the comments.

“The last few years have spawned massive changes in the world of online marketing,” the report says. “With U.S. e-commerce sales now topping $200 billion annually, digital marketers are getting savvier than ever. Customer acquisition trends reflect this evolution. Organic search still leads as the largest channel for online customer acquisition. But as more retailers move towards a ‘free-to-paid’ subscriber model and rely on third parties to help drive visitors to their sites, email and affiliate channels have seen an explosion in growth over the past few years.”

“Email marketing has been a growing trend in e-commerce, with an increasing number of retailers building communities and collecting email addresses, then converting those ‘members’ into customers,” it says. “Organic search continues to grow as a reliable channel, (accounting for nearly 16% of customers acquired) reinforcing efforts to complement products with relevant and informative editorial content along with investing in search engine marketing.”

Email Channel Growth


Here’s where email stacks up compared to other channels for customer lifetime value, according to the report:

Custoer lifetime value

Custora analyzed data from 72 million people shopping on 86 retail websites, tracking where they were coming from, and how much they purchased over a two-year period.

You can download the full report here.

Interestingly, since this report came out showing the huge disconnect between email and Twitter for customer acquisition, Twitter announced that it has started experimenting with email-based ad targeting. Here’s how Twitter described it in a blog post:

How does this work? Let’s say a local florist wants to advertise a Valentine’s Day special on Twitter. They’d prefer to show their ad to flower enthusiasts who frequent their website or subscribe to their newsletter. To get the special offer to those people who are also on Twitter, the shop may share with us a scrambled, unreadable email address (a hash) or browser-related information (a browser cookie ID). We can then match that information to accounts in order to show them a Promoted Tweet with the Valentine’s Day deal. This is how most other companies handle this practice, and we don’t give advertisers any additional user information.

Josh Wolford has more on the offering here.

How is customer acquisition by email doing for you compared to other channels? Is email working better than social or vice versa? Let us know in the comments.

[via Wired]

  • http://iogodo.com iogodo

    If lead generation is your business, you’ll probably already know that Dem is one of your best friends and a nicely profiled database is gold. client acquisition via email is working better and better over the years.

  • http://www.purocleanpers.us Kristine Allcroft

    What a tangled web we weave! What I’ve noticed is that email marketing combined with all the other outlets produces much greater impact on our SEO analytics than just the social media outlets alone. However, email marketing by some folks is so over-done it just becomes another annoyance. When done to excess (i.e., more than once or twice a month) folks will stop listening. Email marketing can teach your potential customers to ignore you if done without discretion!
    Many thanks for your post!

    • http://www.linkedin.com/in/christophermanning Chris Manning

      I completely agree with what Kristine is saying and would like to add one additional comment. Most companies and non-profits follow like fish when it comes to the next “big thing” when it really takes a targeted strategy to succeed long term.

      Should I say it again – you should focus on:
      Strategy, Strategy, Strategy

    • http://crabbythehandyman.com Crabby the Handyman

      Right on Kristine. A prime example is overstock.com. I recently ordered from them and they sent 4 emails in the first few days after purchase. I like their offerings but I do believe they “over” did it…..

    • Gregg

      Couldnt agree more Kristine. We are hounded by emails from our suppliers weekly, daily, and yes its true of some… HOURLY! The worst part is they email the same exact eblast hour after hour, day after day,… All of us in the office are now so numb they are deleted before they are ever looked at. They have now even became more deceptive with the “fake” forwarded and replied email subject lines. Or a subject line that makes you think its urgent, maybe even from a client, when its just the same email you see day afterday. I dont even mind a weekly email (and we have a lot of suppliers) but it needs to be interesting and unique… AND ABOVE ALL NOT THE SAME EBLAST YOU SENT ME AN HOUR AGO.

  • http://www.adovationz.co.nz Digby Geen

    If you read the article it says that big companies convert leads into customers by email marketing.

    But they have to find them in the first place.

    And given the general hatred of email spam I very much doubt the figures.

    (unless you are selling viagra or porn)

  • http://www.adovationz.co.nz Digby Geen

    And those figures only add up to 50%

    Where does the other 50% come from ?

  • http://www.hermetic.ch/ Hermetic Systems

    Email marketing = Spam
    People hate spam!
    Want them to hate you and your company? Send them spam.

  • http://lerentech.com Syracuse SEO

    Email can be powerful when done right and with opt-in and customer lists. Like others have said spam can hurt but if you are an existing customer or you opt-in, it can work very effectively. But like all forms of marketing, it’s best to use it to complement your strategy. And the emails have to be done right, somehow catch the attention and interest of the recipients with a great deal or something. SEO and perhaps PPC should still be a strong focus.

    I like twitter’s idea of showing targeted ads for advertisers to people already on their mailing list, this complements the email efforts and other marketing. I’m curious to know more about how this works. How does a typical business share their email list addresses as hashes and make sure to not hand over their useable list to twitter?

  • http://www.salesportal.com Joe McFadden

    I think emails work so well because in order to get your email into someone’s inbox they have to welcome you; they have to signup. That kind of permission-based marketing will always have a slightly higher conversion rate because you are reaching out to those who have given you the okay to try and engage them.

  • http://www.garudaim.com/demo Garuda – Free Software To Blast Email

    At present time email marketing has become the need of an online business. It’s the best way to communicate with existing customer and also to connect new customers. Actually, it gives you the most affordable and effective means of business promotion.