For those striving to move into the top tier of digital marketers in Europe, the Adobe Digital Index “Best Of The Best Benchmark (Europe)” report (PDF) offers something of a road map to excellence.
ADI looked at 579 billion visits to 19,000-plus Web sites in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, The Nordics, and Benelux in 2013, and compared the results with 2012 to determine how the “best” digital marketing organizations are doing relative to the average. The best digital marketing organizations, according to the report, are defined as those in the top 20 percent—or the “top quintile”—for mobile and tablet traffic, stick rate, visits-per-visitor, time spent, and conversion rate.
“The difference between being average and being in the top quintile represents a massive gap,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst, ADI. “The conversion rate alone, is double for those in the top quintile. So, if you’re in the business of conversion, you can make double the money if you make an investment in digital excellence.”
Benefits To Being The Best
Across Europe, mobile browsing is generally lower than in the United States, yet the best of the best are reaping the benefits by attracting the opportunistic smartphone user. UK sites, for example, see the highest proportion of traffic from smartphones. However, the best of the best see 67 percent more smartphone visitors, according to ADI. Overall, share of visits from smartphones was up about 5 percent since 2012, and the gap between the best and average widened in every country. According to Gaffney, this means the best of the best are pulling away from the competition when it comes to optimizing for mobile browsing.
On the other hand, the British love the tablet; UK sites receive the highest percentage of tablet visitors, beating the US by 4.7%, on average, and by 6.1% among the top performers. Sites in France see the largest gap between the best and the rest, with a whopping 60% difference in tablet share. Tablet users, according to ADI, are known to be affluent lovers of technology and gadgets, so not optimizing for this device could be a missed opportunity for high-tech brands.
Benelux Customers Sticking Around
Stick rate—or the percentage of visits that last more than one page—is an important metric for all sites, noted ADI, because it is a key indicator of a company’s marketing-acquisition activities, as well as homepage relevance and engagement. High stick rates can help marketers understand whether they are targeting the right audience, which can aid in fine-tuning targeting to save money and determine the best opportunities for optimization. The best of the best in Benelux, for example, have been able to increase their stick rates by nearly 30 percent, according to the data.
Minutes per visit, or time spent on a site, is one of the best metrics for determining how engaging a site’s content is, Gaffney said. The finding she found most surprising was that top-performing sites in Germany see over 37% higher time spent, a larger gap than all countries measured, including the US. She also noted that average time spent on average sites is gaining ground on the top performers this year, indicating that top performers are in danger of losing their advantage.
Seamless Integration Is Key
Each industry examined has its own flavor of seamless digital integration. Yet, according to Gaffney, the most mature companies all have in common seamless digital and offline experiences. In the retail sector, for instance, these seamless experiences can double conversion rates by offering “digitally welcoming” stores with integrated digital activations, such as QR codes, price matching, and a good mobile (Web or app) experience—all tied to a single customer record.
For travel, seamlessness means providing customers with a smooth transition between airlines, car rentals, and hotels using mobile apps. In media, it means understanding the preferences of viewers. The best media sites have taken the time to build out their content-recommendation engines, Gaffney noted. Top media companies have also invested heavily in a consistent, on-brand experience, regardless of device or platform.
On the other hand, financial services companies get to the top by taking care of business quickly and efficiently, Gaffney explained. Banking and money management sites generate high engagement, becoming a useful service customers can rely on. And, of course, the most mature financial services companies are early adopters of tools, such as remote check deposit via a smartphone camera and person-to-person payments.
“Really, it is the same story over and over, irrespective of industry,” Gaffney said. “There really isn’t any such thing as ‘offline’ anymore. The unification and seamless experiences across devices and within social media drive the best performance and lead to superior business performance in the end.”
So what does this mean for your organization? Gaffney suggested that if you don’t know where your organization falls within the tiers, it might be time to find out. One way to do this is via Adobe’s Digital Marketing Maturity Assessment tool, which aims to identify an organization’s strengths—and weaknesses—and help marketing leaders prioritize areas to focus on.
About Adobe Digital Insights
Adobe Digital Insights publishes research on digital marketing and other topics of interest to senior marketing and e-commerce executives across industries. Research is based on the analysis of select, anonymous, and aggregated data from more than 5,000 companies worldwide that use the Adobe Digital Marketing Cloud to obtain real-time data and analysis of activity on websites, social media, and advertising.
Receive email updates on the latest Adobe Digital Insights Research.