Sales and Earnings continue falling down. Envato reduces Paid Ads costs.

Hi!

I am author on Themeforest since 2012. I have built a business around it. But from the beginning of April last year I see the decline in traffic and sales. I don’t know if it’s because of new Envato’s CEO strategy, who is trying to reduce the costs and increase the business revenue. I am not comparing 2021-2022 versus 2020 (huge traffic) in pandemic period. I compare 2021-2022 vs 2018-2019.

But according to the ahrefs tool, I see the decline in paid marketing (paid search).

And this is for all time:

So I would like to ask Envato marketing team to push on the Paid marketing campaigns. Because you can also see the sales decline under Weekly Top sellers items on Themeforest. Most of the items (authors) make less today comparing to previous years 2021-2019-2018.

I think if Envato is going to continue getting low-quality traffic, many authors are likely going to quit this marketplace. This is the wrong strategy, when you reduce the paid marketing costs.

See the latest Sales campaigns, when you just set a link to the listing page with discounted items: 2022's Newest Premium WordPress themes from ThemeForest

All your last Sales campaigns are failed. It was much better for items, when you created a separate Landing Page for a Sale campaign and drive traffic to that LP.

In last Sales campaigns, there was no need to apply for it. Anyone (under this hype) could just set an item sale and get listed immediately.

If you organize a Sale campaign, it should give more value to the customers first of all.

You have to rethink your strategy and marketing.

This post is addressed more to Envato team and management.

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@QODE @ThemeREX @LiquidThemes @ThemeMove @hogash @AncoraThemes - what do you think guys?

@BenLeong @collis

Hi everyone.

We also want to chip in actually. As we’ve experienced/still experiencing one the worst Aprils in history. Not even the level of 2018…and we’ve released many great themes since then and even updated all of our portfolio.

  1. So yes, this is very worrisome. Themeforest sales are dropping down. Moreover, this trend was like that before Covid came and it looks like Covid actually helped most of the authors. So the future looks very unclear at the moment and we’d love to hear Envato’s vision of this future.
  2. A few comments as for the paid traffic. What you’ve shared is good data, but it is about the marketplace in general. Have you actually checked your own themes? I mean, like comparing what Envato did for your themes before and what they are doing now? We have a feeling Envato started spending their money more strategically so to say. They are only promoting the themes that sell well now, not spend resources on all the marketplace. At least this is what we see. We’d love Envato to comment on that and tell us whether the marketing spendings have really been cut down? And what is the current strategy?
  3. We’d also love to hear about the future plans. From our talks with Cam and general position we understand that market sales are running low mostly because of the rivals that are taking customers away from Themeforest. Because in general, WordPress is still growing. So the question is what Themeforest is going to do to win these WP customers back? Maybe some exact steps or explaining where the marketplace stands right now and what to expect? Maybe we can help somehow?

ThemeRex Team

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Our items traffic dropped twice comparing to 2018-2019. We have a few top-seller items, but I don’t see Envato is spending much on promotion of our items. However, I think they don’t spend much on other top-sellers as well. You can see now that BeTheme and The7 are doing no more than 500 sales a week comparing to 2019-2020 when they did around 800-900 sales a week. And now the Top list ends up with 30 items and 50-55 sales a week. Previously in 2018 the Top list was 60 items and the last one ended with 50-55 sales a week. It means the sales are still falling down for all items and authors.

For me it’s just important to understand now - should I continue rely on Envato or should I change my business model?!

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@BenLeong @collis @hichameassi - excuse me, did you publish an annual Envato report/statement for 2021? Like Collis did in 2020 and 2019.

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Thanks for raising your concerns.

We can confirm that the exact same thing is happening to us. We are authors for more than 12 years, since late April 2021 we also had a huge drop, we have never seen a drop with an impact like this before.

Here is one chart:

This April (2022) is even worse, this forced us to offer one of the themes with discount, but the sales are the same, page-views too.

Item Pageviews

Before April 2021 in one of our most famous items we can see that daily visits were 1.1K+ through weekdays and 600+ on weekends. From April 2021, 450 visits is the new normal on weekdays and 200-300 visits on weekends. So from April 2021 on weekdays (Mon-Fri) we earn the same amount that we were earning in weekends before that date.

Clearly, there have been some big changes in ThemeForest.

We have talked with other authors and all privately confirm the same pattern, but no one ever writes in forums their concerns. Even if they do, they don’t get any reply from Envato… we used to be a great community in the past.

Envato Elements

We understand that Elements is an important area for Envato but please focus on the marketplaces as well. As I can see Envato is working 90% only in EE, there are multiple patterns that confirm that:

  • Banners — We all saw Elements banners on basically every page of Envato Markets (even in checkout), but I haven’t seen any Market banners on Elements driving traffic to the marketplace.
  • Social Media — Almost all the videos that Envato uploads on their official Youtube channel promote only Elements files. A veeeeery small percentage is for TF items. The same is for other social networks that Envato owns.

WordPress continues to grow

We know that a small impact can come from the pandemic situations and the war but I see that WordPress is growing through the years and now has a 43% market share. Subscription themes are very popular and their prices are increasing every year, but ThemeForest popularity is shrinking.

Also, it’s very sad to see fellow authors that release new WordPress themes and price them as low as $19 just to drive some visits with hopes to convert them.

On the other hand, it seems that Envato is not doing anything to protect authors from nulled sites. We have more than 25% of visits from those sites.

Transparency with authors and a comeback

We think that Envato should be more transparent with its authors, authors that helped Envato be Envato that is known for. Tell them the problems that they are facing, future plans, etc. I’m sure that if they are more transparent authors will try to help them as always and achieve great things together.

We know that Envato has difficulties to find great Engineers that can work on their old Market systems and modernize them to have a subscription oriented business, offer coupons, bundles, etc. but everything is achievable if a company like Envato focuses on it.

Even though is not easy to find the motivation we are working hard and hope for the best and wait patiently for a come back to normal and remain grateful for the little sales we can have. The urge to seek for another business model is growing gradually as we see this happening.

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Thanks for all the detailed feedback that’s been provided in this thread - I have raised your concerns with staff from across the company, and I’ll try to get more detailed responses for the questions here.

@StylemixThemes Yes, we do still publish a Public Impact Statement at the end of every year. The 2021 report can be found here (plus older versions on our blog for reference: 2019 and 2020). Both 2021 and 2020 saw ~$150M in total community earnings, up from $136M in 2019.

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Hi,

We’ve seen a huge drop in traffic on AudioJungle, too. Especially the traffic from the US. AJ’s global ranking on Alexa went from #4500 to #7000. (And in the US from #3500 to #8000).

I hope that this can be addressed soon, so sales can go back to normal.

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Let’s forget what Envato used to be, we must accept it and get over it.
Internet is a beautiful place with a lot of free information:

" The Ta’eeds, who ranked 137th on the 2021 Financial Review Rich List with a $787 million family valuation"

The Zlatan who’s in me is like “You’re welcome!” :joy:

Internet also reminds you that

"Envato is also continuing the Ta’eed’s policy, in operation since 2018, of sharing 20 per cent of each year’s net profit with staff.

In October 2017, the Ta’eed family declared a $57.5 million dividend for Envato’s owners, and extended a $13 million retrospective profit share to current and former staff.

And this is the reason why Envato won’t be back to normal

“Mr Ta’eed described it at the time as a “closing out” of Envato’s first phase, as it shifted its business model from its original marketplace concept, to the subscription model which is now its main revenue source.”

There’s nothing to fix at Envato if everyone is having a good life and the business is expanding like the roman empire.

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Ben, thanks for sharing the public impact statements. It would be really helpful if you guys at Envato can hear the opinions of power elite authors.

We are here not to discuss and calculate how much does Collis or Envato company. I really appreciate Collis and his team who created Envato and who gives us an opportunity to make some money on the marketplace. But I really want to be heard by Envato today, because most authors experience decline in sales. And I hope Envato can still change the approach and boost the authors’ sales.

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Every founder of a successful company deserve to be financially successful, no doubt about it, and I’m grateful that Envato exists…it was just to put it into perspective.
But I understand that Envato is not a charity company that need to fix my salary, your salary or our salaries in general, because that’s the point of those numbers: it doesn’t seems that Envato is going through a recession at all, but quite the opposite!
We are the ones who need to review our business model, because they’ll simply say that the company/community earnings have grown up, so what exactly do they have to fix? :smiling_face_with_tear:

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Hello Everyone,

We are plugin author and have given couple of good plugins to the market.

Yes, traffic is most definitely went down in envato market place. whether its due to envato elements or overall market slow down.
However as far as sales went down, i think traffic is not the only factor. One another important factor is nulled/gpl sellers. They are now openly selling our themes/plugins in the name of gpl. They even run google ads etc so, even sometimes their ad come before themeforest or codecanyon.

I think envato must do something about it.

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I just can fancy what sales would look like if all 150mln were invested back into the marketing :slight_smile:

I find it odd that people are wondering where “sales” went when every seller on the platform agreed to give Envato 50% ownership of their intellectual property to be sold at a steep 90% discount to customers within the “subscriber model”. Hmmm…Gee…I just wonder why sales have dropped? Is it really a mystery?

Who were the chumps in this deal? The emperor who made the “new deal” offer? Or the foolish, ill advised, paranoid sellers who accepted the gross devaluation of their digital assets?

Imagine having an AMAZON business / on line store where you sell your products as a subscription offering? Pretty dumb idea, is it not?

Remember when the deal was 70% of sales to the seller under the single unit sales model? Then came along elements…Not only did ENVATO devalue the price of all digital assets with elements, they wresteled away 50% of the pie from all. Hmm…I just can’t believe sales are declining for everyone selling on the market? It’s a real head scratcher? (stated with lots of sarcasm of course)

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Some people are still successful on the marketplace despite the presence of EE, and that’s not my case :joy:
But every author is different and I don’t want to discuss how they respond to the market shifting to subscription model, especially in this case where the author is from TF and Level14…it’s another world.

I just believe that this situation was predictable.
Imagine how happy were other online agencies when Envato entered the market with prices 10x lower than the average offering super-high quality items.
How can you compete with that?
Here we are now in 2022 with subscription models everywhere.
Prices apart, what I believe is really killing the authors, is that the reason why people subscribe to EE is because the pay for the service, which is basically FREE FILES, not because they want to buy a specific item, from a specific author, from a specific market.
No one on EE cares who created the item they are downloading because if they don’t like it they simply download another one, for free, problem solved.
And that devalues our work more than the prices.

But it also devalue the subscribers, because that’s what happens when you use an item that’s available to millions of people.
I mean it’s like “Are they really using cheap stock-footage to market their company rather than custom work?” :joy:

There are definitely people who are willing to spend some money for exclusive work but they simply don’t come here.

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The trouble is just written in the first post. Marketing costs were reduced and campaigns stopped. It`s easy to see when ads are going. Just look at the same directory of your product. If sales are pouring its pouring for everyone. As well huge drop for everyone starting by the end of March last year, now again the same pattern. Feels like they have the same marketing patterns set, just reduced its budget.

All marketing efforts are devoted to Elements because ENVATO keeps 50% of all revenue whereas the pie is smaller for them on the original markets. Ask yourself where you would put marketing efforts? In a business where you keep 50% of “recurring subscription” revenue? or a business where you keep 30% of one off sales revenue? The markets seem to be a neglected annoyance for the main shareholders and employees of Envato. Notice that all landing pages when you search “Enavto” or “Stock Media” etc…they point a first time visitor to “Elements” The unlimited creative subscription.

The market is just a slow, brutal, dying side show at this point. I make my comments as someone who who has witnessed an 80% decline in monthly earnings. The “popular files” board tells a story too. Folks used to sell 120 to 140 units a month. now the top selling music item is lucky to get 40 sales…at $5 a unit too! Pretty destructive and pathetic devaluation if you ask me. Kind of weird as we live in a world of tremendous “price inflation” for all other goods and services.

The only way to rejuvinate the market is by convincing everyone, literally everyone would have to pull their assets out of ELEMENTS, and for good.

good luck with that!

Who is the joke on? The emperor? or The fools who agreed to the “new deal”?

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Well wait for few more years probably we will use our public score to download things online:) You are right about lot of things. I believe when they will turn of sales completely noone will add more content to their projects. I am 60% less active in last years… no sales… why bother