How To Make 2023 The Biggest Year Ever

Hi, Marketers and Marketeers,

After a week in Dubai and an Emirates Business Class flight with Noah, we have moved on to our next stop: Israel.

36k Amex points per person, transferred to Air Canada to book this flight on Emirates livery.

Noah was truly made for this life 🙃

We are here visiting my wife’s family for two weeks, and it’s been a nice change of pace. This newsie is coming to you from a small cafe in Jaffa, one of my favorite neighborhoods in the world.

Being seven hours ahead of EST, I love the quiet mornings to get work done before the rest of the team awakes on the east coast. I’ve eaten my body weight in shakshuka and falafel, with some hummus for dessert (sorry).

We’re using my Ritz Carlton annual free night for a stay at The Jaffa this Sunday, which I am super stoked about. It’s a renovated 19th-century French hospital and convent with Damien Hirst artwork in the lobby. At $800+ a night, this points redemption is a steal.

I’m gonna keep sharing these wild points redemption in hopes that some more of you ROI-obsessed marketers dive into my world and get some points (respectfully and responsibly, ofc).

For this week’s newsie, let’s talk about the future of ecom.

In 2023, our industry faces a new set of opportunities and challenges. Interest rates continue fluctuating and the possibility of a global recession remains.

Most had to tighten their belts, besides Sean Unsponsored Frank, of course. Ridge is crushing it (ily, Sean).

The future looks hopeful, yet some questions remain: How are we responding to economic uncertainty?

Let’s talk about the future of ecom and a few quick trends and tactics.

  • The Ecom Boom: The Future is Here and Now

  • Mobile-First Approach: Non-Negotiable in 2023

  • Brand Power & Understanding Attribution

This week’s newsie is brought to you by Semrush.

Ecommerce is growing to the tune of 18% year over year. Meanwhile, the competition is becoming more fierce, and trends are shifting rapidly.

Do you have a strategy for staying ahead of your rivals?

In today’s market, businesses need the right tools to keep their edge and outgrow their competitors. Quickly identifying emerging trends, tracking the competitive landscape, and making data-informed decisions is key.

Ready to start strategizing? Semrush’s new ecom bundles provide the data you need.

From market and competitive intelligence to Amazon-focused insights, the new ecom bundles provide everything you need to scale your business and grow with the market.

Scale with a Semrush ecommerce bundle:

The Ecom Boom: The Future is Here and Now

Over the past decade, ecom has experienced a meteoric rise. Whether you look at revenue or web traffic, the results are clear:

Shoppers are turning to the internet at an increasing rate to make purchases of all shapes and sizes–even in categories previously unfathomable (like makeup!)

When the pandemic hit, it tossed a can of gas onto the already smoldering fire. Even as the pandemic's intensity faded, ecom has yet to hit the brakes.

Despite making some significant strides in 2020 and 2021, we saw a 2.5% year-over-year increase in traffic in 2022. So even if the growth isn't as manic as the pandemic period, it's still holding steady with a three-year average growth of 18%.

Fast forward to 2023, and the crystal ball (aka data) is projecting even more growth. Even after a slight dip in the summer of 2022, eCommerce was back up and running by the start of 2023, showing an 8% increase in traffic.

The kicker?

March 2023’s traffic highs made 2022 look like it was standing still and even threatened to topple the all-time high from December 2021.

At this rate, we could be on track for another record-breaking year in 2023.

Ecom is here to stay, and it's not just surviving; it's thriving.

While we might not see the ridiculously steep growth we saw in 2020 and 2021, all signs point to a pretty hefty climb in 2023.

Mobile-First Approach: Non-Negotiable in 2023

According to recent data, mobile devices accounted for 58% of all web traffic in 2022, climbing from around 30% in 2015. Mobile isn't just for social media and Uber Eats anymore.

People are now shopping from their mobile devices more than ever. They're comparing prices, looking for product reviews, and, yes, clicking that "Buy Now" button.

Take a peek at your own stats; you are probably hovering at around 50-60% mobile, at the very least.

And what does that mean for you, the forward-thinking, strategically-minded, trend-aware business owner?

Mobile-first design isn't just a nice-to-have anymore. It's critical. A mobile-first design isn’t just about making your website work on smaller screens. It's about delivering a top-notch, seamless user experience.

And, just to be clear, this isn't about getting rid of your desktop site. It's about shifting priorities and designing your site with mobile users in mind, first and foremost.

Let's get tactical:

  • Responsive Design: If your website is still not responsive, you're already behind. Your site needs to work flawlessly on all devices, not just desktops. Use media queries, flexible grids, and flexible images to ensure your site looks great on all screen sizes.

  • CTA Size: Users on mobile are navigating with their fingers, not a mouse. Make sure buttons, forms, and menus are large enough and spaced well enough to accommodate touchscreen navigation.

  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): Improve your website’s performance with AMP. It will make your website load faster, creating a smoother and more engaging experience for users.

  • Consistent Testing: It’s worth continuing to test everything, but some areas we are finding lots of value in are shipping fees and checkout optimization (Intelligems and PrettyDamnQuick are two tools worth looking at).

Brand Power & Understanding Attribution

While going through Semrush’s recent report, here is one stat that stood out to me that I think is worth talking about.

If you lived on Twitter, you’d assume 99% of a brands success is straight direct-response Facebook ads, but here's a juicy tidbit for you:

According to research from Semrush, a whopping 57% of US ecom traffic is direct and doesn't come directly via ads at all.

I mean, let that sink in. It's like half the guests at your birthday party turned up because they just knew about it, not because they saw your glossy, bougie invite.

Here is where attribution comes in:

Explain it Like I’m Five: Attribution 🧒

Let's say you want to invite your friends to your birthday party. To get as many friends as possible to come, you use a few different methods:

You hand out invites at school (this is like an email campaign).

You hang up a poster at the local park where everyone plays (this is like a display ad).

You ask your best friend to tell other friends about the party when you're not around (this is like an organic social post).

You make a special announcement at the school assembly (this is like a paid search ad).

Now, let's say your friend Billy shows up to the party. You're super excited and want to know how Billy heard about the party so you can use that method more in the future.

So, you ask Billy, "How did you find out about my party?"

Billy might say he saw the poster at the park, heard the announcement at school, got the invite you handed out, and also heard it from your best friend.

So which one of these actually convinced Billy to come to your party?

That's what marketing attribution tries to figure out.

It helps you understand which method was most important or valuable in getting Billy to come to your party.

Just like in our example, in ecom marketing, there are different ways (or "channels") to reach potential customers, like email, social media, ads, and more.

Attribution models help businesses understand which of these methods are working best, so they can make smarter decisions about where to invest their time and money.

In a nutshell, marketing attribution in ecom is like a detective game, figuring out which invite method got Billy to the party.

It helps businesses know where their guests (customers) are coming from and which invite methods (marketing channels) are the most effective.

First-Click Attribution: In this scenario, the first way Billy heard about your party is the one that gets all the credit.

So, if the first thing that happened was Billy seeing your poster in the park, then the "poster" method gets all the credit, even if Billy also heard about the party from other sources after that.

This is like the "first-click" attribution model in marketing: the first interaction a customer has with your brand gets all the credit for any purchase they end up making.

Last-Click Attribution: This is the exact opposite of first-click attribution. In this case, the last way Billy heard about your party is what gets the credit.

So if the last thing Billy did was hear your announcement at the school assembly, then the "school assembly announcement" gets all the credit.

This is the "last-click" attribution model, where the last interaction a customer has with your brand before making a purchase gets all the credit.

Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM): Now, this one's a little different. Instead of giving all the credit to one method, MMM tries to figure out how much each method contributed to Billy coming to your party. Maybe the poster did 30% of the work, your friend telling Billy did 40%, the school assembly announcement did 20%, and the direct invite did 10%.

This model tries to measure the impact of each marketing channel on the final result, and it considers other factors too, like your competition's parties and whether you've thrown awesome parties in the past.

So, in a nutshell, first-click and last-click attribution are like trying to figure out the most important invitation method by looking at the first or last thing that happened, and MMM is like being a detective trying to figure out how every single thing you did contributed to Billy coming to your party.

There are quite a few other attribution models and pieces to figuring out “attribution,” but this is a “explain it like I am five,” not a masterclass.

So, in essence, while it’s quite likely that the 57% that came from “direct traffic” are not completely “cold” and have interacted with your brand, successful businesses are thinking more about upper-funnel and brand awareness than ever before.

In our murky world of ad blockers and privacy restrictions, the role of brand awareness and understanding your attribution models has never been more critical.

And no, brand awareness isn't just about having a funky logo or a catchy tagline. It's about building a brand that resonates with your audience on a much deeper level, and knowing exactly how your customers find and interact with you.

Your brand is more than your product. It's the story you tell, the values you uphold, and the customer experience you offer.

These days, consumers care as much about who you are as what you sell. So, be authentic, be consistent, and most importantly, be human.

That’s it for this week!

Any topics you'd like to see me cover in the future?

Just shoot me a DM or an email!


Eli 💛

P.S. I have two sponsorship slots available in the next few months. Feel free to reply to this email directly if you are interested in learning more.