E-Commerce Customer Acquisition Snapshot

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Custora is excited to announce the publication of our first ever E-Commerce Customer Acquisition Snapshot.


The last few years have spawned massive changes in the world of online marketing. With U.S. e-commerce sales now topping $200 billion annually, digital marketers are getting savvier than ever.

The sharpest 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 is an effort to reflect on the rapidly changing landscape of customer acquisition and shed additional light on what’s shaping the future of e-commerce growth.


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21 thoughts on “E-Commerce Customer Acquisition Snapshot

  1. Hello Aaron,

    I’m confused about one thing in this report – there are entries for both PPC and CPC, which are the same thing. There’s also a value for Google as a stand alone. I would expect that to be lumped into either organic/natural/SEO or into CPC/PPC/SEM. Or does it refer to Google Product search or something else?

    Did you just use the raw utm_medium without lumping like terms together, or are these actually distinct forms of marketing you’re talking about?

    • Hi Bifford,

      Yes, we used the client supplied utm_medium code. Some of the companies we work with lump PPC/CPC/Organic as ‘Google’ and others parse them apart.

      • Hi Aaron, have a quick question.

        When you measure social media like FB and twitter, do you use client supplied utm_medium code here as well?
        What about all traffic shared on social media that are not tagged with this code?
        Maybe you use http refferer, but then, visitors coming from mobile apps usuelly dont have a http refferer.

        Hope you have some answers so I understand the study a bit more, thanks!

  2. Aaron,

    The acquisition rate for email is based on community growth? How did the community get started in the first place? If visitors came from search and social, which is most likely, then the customer should be attributed to those initial touch points. Typically email is a retention channel.

    • Sean you are right that the last click attribution is what is usually tracked in Google Analytics.

      This means a customer could start following a brand on facebook, then few weeks later sign up to the email list and then click on one of the emails to purchase.

      Yes the initial acquisition of the lead is Facebook but the conversion will be attributed to email.

  3. Quite interesting results. I’ve just blogged about it (Spanish: http://bit.ly/13zKMpe), and tried to add my 2 cents:

    1. It’s mandatory to monitor as much buzz (word of mouth) as possible, due most of the organic results are opinions and articles from people (customers, users, friends of users, etc).

    2. Although Facebook and Twitter did not make it very well, we have to understand that those tools are perfect for conversations and rise awareness. It’s more likely a customer will look for to learn more about a brand, product, organization, etc, if they see their friends interacting or at least, mention them in their newsfeed.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  16. Aaron, this data considers Last Click conversions? Or previous actions?

    I feel the industry is missing the point when evaluating media value on customer acquisition.

    E-Mail required previous actions (via display, in-site, search) to capture the client. That later e-mail was later able to capitalize with direct e-mail actions like special or last minute offers.

    Google, has the ability to capture Brand searches, which were generated thanks to previous offline and online interactions. I constantly see marketers praising Google for such lows CPAs, when you later dissect the campaign separating Brand campaigns, from Category and Competition, from the rest, you will find that Brands takes between 60% (for e-commerce retailers) to 90% (for CPG or Telcos) of the conversions and less that 5% of the budget. Being the rest of Search as “inneficient” as other channels.

    So, would love to know what you considered to attribute sales on this report.

  17. Whoa. Very interesting. Gives the expression “social butterfly” some solid meaning LOL 😉 I wonder how channels interact and influence one another though. For example social media presence increasing organic traffic and so on. Serious props for your work Aaron.

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