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    60% of brands have seen drop in online traffic and consumption in 2023 – but digital ad spend is up

    Digital ad spend is set to surpass $740 billion in 2024, yet website traffic, consumption and conversion were all down last year, according to the Contentsquare 2024 Digital Experience Benchmark Report.

    In fact, 55% of all sites saw lower traffic, 58% saw session consumption fall, and conversion decreased by 5.5% according to the report. Contentsquare, a global leader in digital experience analytics, also found that 40% of all online visits included avoidable friction, including technical website errors, slow page loads and rage clicks.

    To learn more, download the full Benchmark report here.

    “With a dip in global web traffic this year and the cost per visit rising almost 10%, making every visit count is business critical,” says Jean-Christophe Pitié, Chief Marketing and Partnerships Officer, Contentsquare. “We know from our previous consumer research that shoppers are leaving sites as a result of frustrations that could be easily resolved, such as slow page loads and rage clicks.”

    While fixing frustration remains an utmost priority across industries, efforts to optimize mobile app performance are paying off, with apps recording steady customer engagement in 2023 (14 pages viewed per online visit up from 13.8 the previous year) and a conversion rate of 5.6% — 3x the conversion rate of mobile web traffic. Furthermore, app users spend 64% more time in-app than visitors spend on mobile sites.

    “Mobile, in particular, is the new competitive battlefield,” continued Jean-Christophe Pitié. “We’ve seen gains in terms of engagement for apps this year, but mobile optimization as a whole is not as mature as it could be given the intelligence we have today on customer behaviours and preferences. ”

    Contentsquare’s latest Benchmark Report further reveals that, despite mobile driving 70% of website traffic in Q4 2023, browsing time on mobile web is 60% shorter than on desktop. These “micro-visits” contribute to a decline in conversion rates, highlighting the gap between consumer expectations and current mobile web optimization practices.

    There is also a shift to paid sources, with search driving 4x conversion of paid social. Paid sources drove one-third of all traffic to websites this year, and 36% of new visits. For mobile web, paid sources account for 40% of traffic — twice as much as for desktop. While overall traffic is down, paid social is one of the few channels that saw traffic growth in 2023. However, social traffic struggles to convert compared to paid search, which still drives 4x the conversion rate of paid social.

    The report indicated that visits from social are less intentional, with a 41% higher bounce rate than paid search. Visitors from social may have inadvertently tapped through to a website because of a compelling story or influencer without the intention embodied by visitors coming from paid search.

    Frustrating visitors is a surefire way to waste visits. Sites that are slow to load (those taking more than three seconds) and perform poorly in responding to visitor interactions combine to reduce the engagement by 15%.

    Rage clicks (clicking at least three times in less than two seconds) continue to frustrate visitors, and were found in 5.5% of all online visits.

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