Which marketing channels actually result in sales?

Marketing channel effectiveness

Marketing Channel Effectiveness

A recent study by Adobe Digital Index and published in Internet Retailer focused on which marketing channels generated direct sales for online retailers. In the study, they compared 2014 to 2015 using six marketing channels; Affiliate, Search, Direct, Email, Display and Social.

One thing that stood out from the charts was that four channels actually decreased or remained the same in their effectiveness. Only Email, which was up by 1%, and Display ads which were up by .8% showed increased effectiveness.  Even social media, which gets all the marketing attention these days, decreased in it’s effectiveness from 2014 to 1015 by .4%.

Now, one might say that these numbers are pretty minuscule and meaningless to the small business owner and in dollars this would probably be true if you were simply applying the increments to your overall sales.  However, the value comes in correlating the numbers to user behavior. Based only these numbers, one could realistically expect a better return on their marketing dollars if they are more focused on email channels. This is a good thing because no matter how big or small your company is, you probably get email and know how to put together at least a mediocre marketing campaign at a fairly low cost.

So, when you are getting ready to plow the hard earned profits from your business back into marketing, do what the major online retailers are doing. Read the numbers, identify the trends and go where the results are.


The founder of Small Business Right, Earl has owned multiple small ventures. He has experience in retail/wholesale, ecommerce, business technology, cybersecurity, business operations, mentoring and all-things small business. Over two decades of entrepreneurial experience has allowed many opportunities to share and learn about business operations in many industries and assist businesses from idea validation to succession.

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Posted in Internet Marketing

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