It’s now 3 months since the beta launch of Envato Elements. There’s also been a bunch of discussion here in the forums, so it feels timely that we provide a detailed update on how it’s all going, what it means for authors and contributors, and some insights into our future plans.
###First, some context…
Envato Elements is a new subscription service aimed at designers, marketers and other professionals who need digital assets regularly. Both Envato Market & Envato Elements are vital to our strategy for growing community earnings, and we will be investing heavily in both platforms in the years ahead.
The beta launch for Elements was on the 1st August 2016, with ~400 contributors (authors) and a curated library of 5000 graphic items. Since launch, ~3000 new items have been added, bringing the total library to ~8000. This includes major new item types, like Web Templates in late September, and CMS & Ecommerce Templates (excluding WordPress) in late October.
Elements shares 50% of net subscriber revenue with contributors, with no exclusivity requirement. To make it as fair as possible for contributors, we’ve pioneered subscriber share, and enabled even exclusive authors from Market to sell on Elements without affecting their rates on TF/GR/etc.
How did the launch go?
Elements had a very strong start to life, and now has ~12,000 paying subscribers. This is great because it enabled healthy contributor earnings from the very beginning. The average payout for month 1 was ~$220, with 8 people earning more than $1000, and 49 earning more than $500.
It’s early days but a recent survey suggests that over 70% of contributors to Elements rate their experience so far as “very good” or “excellent”. The number one piece of feedback was wanting more statistics on their earnings, which is something we’re currently working on. Early on we also saw some contributors waiting to see earnings before uploading more of their items. But after the first pay run the vast majority now say they have decided to continue engaging and adding items regularly, with many committing to make it an even higher priority than before.
Some comments from recent contributor surveys include:
- “Thanks to the whole Elements team for doing a good job and I’ve said that from the beginning. I can understand launching a new product is a big undertaking. As far as future improvements, I’d really like to see more dashboard details that give a breakdown of my item statistics.”
- “First of all this is a great platform for us and thank you for consider me as a contributor. I just waiting to see how it works and for sure I will contribute more files.”
- “As most contributors I would like to see more information for analyzing effectiveness of my products (earnings, keywords etc.) Everything else is great, i’m satisfied the first month and will create more great items with twice energy. Good start, thanks again, Envato Elements Team :)”
Subscribers are overwhelmingly positive about the new subscription. It’s not just about value for money - they also like the consistently high quality library and the simple approach to licensing. Many have commented that a subscription enables them to trial items that they wouldn’t otherwise have purchased, and to experiment with new concepts & item types without the risk of losing money.
To illustrate that, here are a couple of interesting subscriber quotes:
- “I can download and test many things. One of the worst parts about buying graphic assets, is that most times I can’t test them before I buy, and by the end I buy a bunch of stuff that I never use. So, Elements solves this problem for me.”
- “With Elements, I feel like a kid in a candy store. It’s not an issue anymore if the client changes their mind. It frees both myself and my clients up to get what they really are after for an end product.”
- ”I’m sure in the end I’ll just end up spending more money with Envato because it just causes me to create more stuff for myself and for clients.”
Is it affecting Market sales?
Most of Envato Elements so far is graphics, so we’ve been watching GraphicRiver sales closely. In Elements’ launch month of August, GraphicRiver had its best August ever, despite us marketing Elements the whole month long across the header.
And in the three months since Elements’ launch GraphicRiver has continued strong sales, and is almost exactly where we had forecast it would be (using a model that didn’t account for Elements). In other words, the effect on GraphicRiver appears to be very, very small.
We also looked at a sample of Elements contributors who are also authors on Market. The story for them was universally positive, with no negative influence identified. In fact, many had healthy growth in Market earnings as well as a new revenue stream from Elements. And a surprisingly large proportion earned more from Elements in the month than they did from selling on Market.
Plus, a detailed customer & subscriber analysis shows that Elements is attracting new customers in large numbers who’ve never purchased from Market before. Taken together, this bodes well for authors and contributors, with incremental earnings for the community as a result of Elements.
What are our future plans?
We’re currently integrating the team that built Elements into our main Customer and Content teams, so that responsibility for both Market and Elements sits in the one place. We are deeply committed to both platforms, and will be investing heavily in both Market and Elements in the years ahead.
New content will continue to be added to Elements, which enables us to attract new customers from more customer segments and also makes it more likely we can retain subscribers for a long time. Ultimately, you can expect to see high quality items from many Envato Market categories on Elements.
For the rest of 2016, our focus with Elements is on growing existing categories (for example, fonts is a big focus in November) and exploring some item types not currently available on Market.
Then in the first half of 2017, we will add WordPress themes and plugins, as well as Photos, to Elements. We expect those two categories should enable significant subscriber growth, and open up attractive incremental earnings for ThemeForest and PhotoDune authors.
To reiterate, we’re expecting the trend to continue that Elements creates additional overall revenue for the community in these new categories, and that we will continue to attract a large portion of new customers who’ve never purchased from Envato before.
There will continue to be some cross-promotion of Elements on Market, particularly for category launches. Apologies for the technical issues that led to targeted pop-up messages unintentionally showing on item pages, but that has now been resolved: these messages will no longer display on user profile, portfolio, item, shopping cart or checkout pages on Market. The header bar and email remain important for cross-promotion, but increasingly we’re working towards relying more on external channels by investing in SEO, paid acquisition, sponsored content, social and PR.
Meanwhile, we are making a bigger investment in marketing & growth of Envato Market than ever before. Envato Market remains our core business, and there are exciting projects in the works that should drive continued growth in customers and community earnings.