Consumers may be making the shift to mobile, but they are encountering less than optimal experiences as they visit the websites of European brands, according to the latest “Best of the Best” report from Adobe Digital Index (ADI), released this week at Adobe Summit EMEA.
Smartphone traffic is on the rise in Europe, increasing an average of 36.4% across countries, indicating consumers are still making the switch to use smartphones to access online content.
As Europeans increasingly become more reliant on their mobiles to carry out daily tasks, it is even more important that brands deliver a seamless mobile experience. Frequent tasks, such as checking email, getting directions, and using social media, are already heavily mobile.
But even more complex tasks will be mobile first in the near future. For example, in the next few years, some 21% of consumers would like to do most of their banking and investments on their phones, without needing to rely on a desktop.
With consumers increasingly using smartphones to access the Web, the use of desktops is steadily decreasing. However, desktop, according to ADI managing analyst Becky Tasker, will remain a substantial source of Web traffic.
“The rise of mobile, even as desktop traffic remains substantial, signals that marketers need to focus on the cross-device experience. Consumers will figure out the right device blend for them, and marketers need to be able to provide great experiences on the fly,” said Tasker.
The EMEA “Best of the Best” analysis, which leverages Adobe Marketing Cloud data to compare the benchmarks of all customers to those in the Top 20%, shows marketers how they compare to peers. Of the five EMEA countries analysed, the U.K. has the lowest amount of average traffic originating from desktop devices, at 56.1%, which suggests that British businesses have done more to address smartphone optimisation.
In terms of the seven industries analysed, Media & Entertainment and Retail seem to be in the lead for such optimisation. However, some industries are failing to rise to the challenge, with Financial Services (74.5%) and Technology (84.3%) sectors still receiving the bulk of their traffic from desktops.
In a world that is becoming increasingly mobile, being in the top 20% of sites who receive the bulk of their traffic from desktops is likely not a good place to be. The Top 20% of desktop performers in both the Financial Services and Technology sectors (at 87.3% and 94.8% respectively) highlights the challenges these industries face in delivering an effective smartphone experience for their customers.
Visit rates by device also vary across Europe. The Nordics, Germany, and France have experienced an increase in smartphone visits, while the U.K. (and the U.S.) has seen a decrease in visits, regardless of device. The majority of industries have also experienced a decrease in visits to their websites via all device types, except for both the Financial Services and Retail sectors.
The decline in visits has also been matched by a decline in the consumption (minutes spent on a site), especially on smartphones. This decline isn’t necessarily a bad thing, according to Tasker.
“Less time spent can signal that sites are getting better at presenting what customers want, but it can also signal the reverse—consumers who arrive, get frustrated, and leave,” said Tasker. She warns that brands need to know which is the case for their site. A survey among thousands of EMEA consumers reveals that there are organic factors to shorter consumption (such as smaller screen size, turning to a smartphone while on the go, or using it for inherently simpler tasks), but that there are other factors under more direct control of marketers. These include things like poor design/layout and poor search function.
The survey does shed light on one key fact. Some 72% of European consumers claim that the browsing experience is worse on mobiles than on other devices, compared to only 64% of 18 to 24 year-olds, who seem to be more forgiving, or attuned to the mobile experience.
“The clear message is that marketers need to bring smartphone browsing to parity with desktop, particularly for older consumers who are more likely to compare smartphone browsing to the desktop experience they have grown accustomed to,” says Tasker.
The net conclusion, according to Tasker, is that shorter visits are here to stay and marketers need to adapt the mobile experience to reflect customer habits.
Read related story: ADI: A Seamless Cross-Device Experience Is Not On The Menu Yet
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.
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