Customer Acquisition Via Email Has Quadrupled Over the Last 4 Years

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Email Marketing

Customer Aquisition reportRecently, Custora released “E-Commerce Customer Acquisition Snapshot, Q2 2013,” the first in what will become a series of reports examining emergent e-commerce customer acquisition trends.

Custora looked at numbers spanning 72 million customers from 86 U.S. retailers across 14 industries, and came up with some verrrrrrry interesting data about customer acquisition and customer lifetime value. The report looked at retailers, but as B2C are often early adopters of practices and standards that later migrate to B2B, the trends should be meaningful for all online marketers.

Custora notes: “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…the savviest marketers in the new era of e-commerce will be looking beyond just where customers are coming from. They’ll be looking at the value of new customers acquired across channels, platforms, and geographies. And it turns out – not all customers are created equal.”

The study breaks out acquisition by channels (including PPC, CPC, email, Google, organic, referral, banner, Facebook, affiliate, Twitter, CPM). Organic search accounts for nearly 16% of customers acquired, and CPC delivers 9.82, which all points to SEM and content marketing becoming more important than ever. Twitter bottomed out the pack, delivering less than one-hundredth of one percent.

Customer aquisition chart

The big news here is that customer acquisition via email has quadrupled over the last 4 years. This is roughly concurrent with the rise of marketing automation and email marketing personalization strategies, so there may well be cause-and-effect happening here.

The study also breaks out customer lifetime value by channel (affiliate, banner ads, CPC, CPM, email, Facebook, Google, organic, PPC, referral, Twitter), and by state for all retailers (Wyoming leads) and for fashion retailers (New York leads).

In customer lifetime value, the order was the same as with acquisition, but the arc was much steeper: Customers attributed to organic search had a CLV of 54% higher than average; PCP had 37% and email got 12%.  Twitter again held the bottom spot; customers acquired through Twitter tend to be worth about 23% less than average. Custora theorized that this may be attributable to the frequency of discounts offered within tweets. (One could also speculate that Twitter may be driving some of the organic traffic, without getting credit for it.  In any case, don’t take those numbers by themselves as any kind of reason to discontinue Twitter.)

B2B marketers…are these numbers what you see as well? If not, how do yours differ?