Posted May 1, 2014 5:08 pm by with 2 comments

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Maybe it’s my naturally pessimistic state of mind, but when I see a comparison report, I’m more interested in what stopped working than what’s still working.

A good example is this chart from the Q1 2014 US ecommerce report from The Custora Pulse.

Cutora Pulse April 2014

Comparing 2013 to 2014, we see that search marketing is still going strong. Organic and paid combined are responsible for 44% of ecommerce orders. It worked last year and it still works today. Google is responsible for almost three-quarters of that traffic which is both good news and bad news. On the good side, you know where to go if you want results. On the downside, there’s only one place to go if you want results and that’s scary.

Email saw a slight gain, along with the infamous “other”. I don’t know what “other” is but it’s fun to imagine. Blogging? Contests? Apps or video? Come on Custora – what types of marketing did you lump into “other”?

Direct marketing took a big hit, dropping 3%. Display is the same but at 1% hardly worth the effort.

Affiliate has a larger piece of the pie than I would have thought but it’s on the decline. I saw this in my own business so it’s nice to know I’m not alone. I used to get a decent chunk of change from Amazon and other affiliate programs now. . . not so much.

What’s really disturbing is Social. Last year’s 2% isn’t that great and now it’s down to 1%? First there was banner blindness and now it looks like social is suffering the same fate. So many branded messages coming at us in so many forms, we’ve learned to filter them out as we skim.

The good news is that ecommerce revenue was up 11% year-over-year and orders were up 13%. So, even though some marketing methods are converting very well, it’s all adding up to a boost in online income – so that’s a win.

And though social is slipping, mobile is still climbing: 35% increase in ecommerce revenue over Q1 2013. Tablet purchases rose from 8.2% to 10.3%. Mobile phone purchases went from 5.5% to 8.2%. That means desktops showed a loss of around 5%.

What do you think? Are these percentages about right for your business? Or way off the mark?



  • Interesting research. I would have expected growth in both affiliate and social. I always imagine social will ultimately end up an extension or evolution of affiliate via word of mouth type marketing. Impressive to see search holding pat. I guess this means continued growth in the content marketing world.

  • Doug Griffin

    Great research.

    I find it interesting the numbers on direct. As much a marketers want to dismiss good old direct, it is a major contributor followed by organic and email.

    To me, this is an indicator that direct still has a strong role, especially when factoring in awareness. And organic plays to the need for marketing to create content to drive inbound traffic (while using social for sharing and engagement…not necessarily for buy social ads) and then leveraging email to nurture leads – perhaps through marketing automation.

    Those three (with organic social) seem, to me, major drivers for a strong mix.