Only £23,167.43 in sales in 6 months for Ali Abdaal YouTuber with 5m subscribers

Added on 6 Jun 2024 by Elliott Davidson

If I were running YouTuber Ali Abdaal’s eCommerce brand Lightmode, this is how I’d turn things around from an outsider's perspective.

First off let's go through the unit economics. After all, economics means everything for every business.

At first glance this looks ok, but let's compare this against electric industry benchmark data from Iris/Wayflyer.

By comparing this, we can then see that their gross margin is sitting around 67%, not the 37% of the wider industry.

The 22% average used for marketing - which is a $35.12 CAC (cost to acquire customers) - means they haven’t been able to do any external marketing other than Ali’s owned channels. We can see this by the fact that there’s currently no line item in their unit economics.

I guess the idea here was that due to Ali's current audience, they would be able to get a negative CAC by Ali marketing it for free on his organic channels. To me, this isn’t sustainable and needs to be factored into unit economics from day one. Yes, you might be able to gain some traction, but you then need to pour fuel on the fire to accelerate the growth.

What actually happened is one of the worst possible outcomes - not much traction and no budget to then put into marketing.

Net new customers are the lifeblood of any eCommerce business if they intend to scale. So moving forward, one of two things needs to happen - Increase the product price to have room to afford a 22% marketing budget and/or get the gross margin costs down. If it were me, I think I would go for the latter and have some tough negotiations with suppliers, showing them the data and asking them how this can then work.

Moving forward, once you’ve organised your marketing budget, it’s time to look at adding in marketing methods which Ali currently isn’t running (as far as I can see).

I’m going to break this down into 3 areas:

  1. Customer acquisition

  2. CRO

  3. Email

Customer acquisition

Driving new customer revenue that is predictable, scalable, and most importantly, profitable is the goal here. That’s why we’ll be tapping into paid media, specifically through Meta initially.

From a media buying perspective, I’d be looking to set up one Meta campaign to keep things simple and share learnings back to Meta and the AI. Within this I’d leverage cost controls to define CPA targets and help create control from an efficiency perspective.

Taking this approach puts even more emphasis on getting ad creative right. As we’d be starting from scratch, we’d want to make an initial hypothesis of who our ICP are, what their pain points are, and what resonates with them. Within this, we’ll need to create diversification within the ad types, formats, and funnel targeting.

Having Ali’s influence is a great asset and can’t be overlooked. So I’d want to use this and lean into it. You want to take every advantage or edge you can get.

Initially, with this all in mind, I’d want to look to create the following ads:

  • Founder story

  • Whitelisting

  • Us vs them

  • Testimonials

  • UGC

  • Statistics

  • Before/after

  • Bullet points

  • Features/benefits

  • Negative marketing

  • Press

The next question is where to send this ad traffic to - a lander or PDP? This isn’t something I’d know the answer to without testing it for the brand. Whether a new lander or a current PDP, new components would need to be added to this page.

The final element of this is we need an offer that gets people to want to take action now. We would want to avoid offering a discount in order to avoid reducing already small margins. Instead we’d look to offer added value. The best thing I can think of here is a small mini productivity course that could have a higher perceived value and upside.


Currently, the site only has a conversion rate of 0.32% and there are some areas I notice straight out the gate that I would look to test/incorporate into the current site design.

Home page

Starting with the home page, there isn’t a prominent headline or CTA above the fold (as identified in the image above). I would change this by adding the headline and CTA over the image in some way or by placing the image on one side and the headline and CTA to the other side, avoiding the issue of users needing to scroll to see it.

Product page

The main place where I feel like improvement could be made in terms of CRO is on the product page. Here’s a couple of bits I’d add in:

  • Benefit-driven bullet points about the product under the price.

  • An FAQ section.

  • A comparison section to show how you differ and compare to the competition, making it clear why they should buy from you instead.

  • Feature section about founder Ali Abdaal.

When it comes to what’s already on the product page, I like the imagery but I think this could be more interactive with render videos and/or gif loops.

It’s also important to ensure your site is mobile-friendly. Lightmode’s product page isn’t fully mobile-friendly as the image of the product tech specs is unreadable on mobile.


Social proof is a huge asset for any eCommerce business. Lightmode has sold 206 units. There’ll be at least a couple of people who would be willing to leave a product review using a 3rd party review platform. These can then be highlighted across your site.

I’d also look to do some product seeding using Ali’s name to try and get product reviews from other creators and publications. You can then use these product review quotes and logos on your site as additional social proof. Even better if you can use some of the creator’s review videos as social proof on site (with permission).

Lightmode could also look at testing free shipping, counterbalanced by increasing their product price.


Finally, the last section is email. We know that most people aren’t ready to buy when they visit your site and only a small handful of people will actually convert on their first visit. As such, being able to nurture these relationships and keep touching base with them means that when they’re ready to buy, they’ll come to your site and convert.

Currently, there’s a weak CTA towards the bottom of the home page that could be improved. My guess is that the conversion rate of this particular form is very low.

We want to increase email sign ups while not offering discounts as, from a contention margin perspective, the brand can’t afford it.

With this in mind, as well as improving the CTA for the form at the bottom of the home page, I would also suggest creating a lead magnet. Ideally, this would be something productivity related that the ICP (ideal customer profile) would want. I’d then run this as a pop-up. Off the back of this, you’d be able to continually nurture this relationship with a newsletter and/or automated marketing flows such as abandon cart and welcome flows.

Having looked through Ali Abdaal’s brand Lightmode, hopefully you’ve got some inspiration for any similar changes you could make to your eCom site.

If you have any questions please leave a comment below or drop us a message.

P.S. If Ali or one of your team reads this, I’d love to help. Contact me via email and we can chat.