Customer Acquisition Snapshot; Organic Search, Email Top Social

Perhaps the reason that new media types obsess over customer acquisition is because it's still quite a mystery and in a very dynamic landscape. Google makes hundreds of algorithm changes every year, new ad networks and formats emerge daily, while social networks continue growing their respective audience bases and their service offerings as fast as any channel that has come before. 

For that reason it's important to take a step (or two) back occasionally and explore what's really driving acquisition - not just for your own digital property but for the broader industry itself. 

The past few years has undoubtedly seen dramatic change and ecommerce sales in particular have surpassed $200 billion annually, meaning digital marketers in the retail space need to be smart about where to spend their time and resources. 

A new report from Custora reveals some interesting insights that should not go unnoticed. Custora found that organic search still leads as the largest channel for online customer acquisition (no surprise there), but email and affiliate channels have seen an "explosion in growth" over the past few years as retailers move from a "free-to-paid" subscriber model. 

Highlights of the study include: 

- Customer acquisition via email has quadrupled over the last 4 years.

- Organic search continues to grow as a reliable channel accounting for nearly 16% of customers acquired. 

- The highest-value customers arrive through organic search (54% higher than average)

- Customers acquired through Twitter tend to be worth about 23% less than average. 

- The most valuable online shoppers tend to come from more rural states, yet fashion brands find many of their best customers in densely-populated coastal states.