Byravee Iyer
Jul 30, 2014

Why best-of-best websites outperform the masses: Adobe

ASIA-PACIFIC - Brands that have creative, graphically pleasing, smartphone optimised websites keep users engaged and bring them back for more, according to Adobe, which in new research claims to have quantified the extent of the advantages that such 'best practices' provide.


For example, across the region, stick rate, the percentage of visits that last more than one page, increased 25 per cent for a group of sites Adobe calls the “best-of-the-best”, and improved overall for the sites it calls the “masses”.

That's one of the findings in the software company's global benchmark study about how brands’ online presence measures up against other sites and how overall averages are trending across Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, India, South Korea, Hong Kong, China and the US.

The best digital marketing organisations, according to the report, are the ones that are in the top 20 per cent for the following metrics: percentage of mobile and tablet traffic, stick rate, pages per visit, minutes per visit, return visits and conversion rate. The conclusions are based on 120 billion visits to more than 16,000 websites during 2012 and 2013.

With the exception of South Korea, the masses saw an increase in stick rate year over year. In India, however, the best-of-the-best improved their stick rate by more than 14 per cent year over year to lead all countries in this key metric.

“This has a lot to do with how effective and easy the purchase system is,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst, Adobe. “But it’s also a cultural factor that Indians have a desire for knowledge and this may drive them to consume more content.”

US marketers fared the poorest in this key metric. US marketers have bigger budgets and are less likely to be efficient, Gaffney noted. “This goes against the whole notion that marketing is scientific. It is also creative, and brands have to stand out and provide graphically pleasing images,” she said, adding that the best-of-the-best have invested to make sure their websites are effective.

India also led the way with return visitors, a critical measure for website success. Return visits per visitor (total visits divided by unique visitors) for the best-of-the-best sites stood at a 2.48 in India versus the average of 1.75—a whopping 41.8 per cent advantage. ANZ isn’t far behind, with the best registering 2.3 return visits per visitor compared to the average of 1.7.

Those who have improved are pulling away from the average, noted Gaffney. “Marketers who aren’t in the best-of-the-best are starting to lose steam.”

Aside from India, time spent on websites is higher in ANZ and SEA but has fallen in all the other markets. In 2012 the average session time was around six-and-a-half minutes and has increased by approximately 15 seconds.

As for conversion rate, the key metric to determine revenue success for websites that sell online, the best-of-the-best sites nearly doubled the average conversion rate. Here, the gap between average and best is widening in India, South Korea, Hong Kong and China.

“It is important to make sure your brand is investing in infrastructure to be excellent at mobile, targeted audience buying and dealing in a complex world that operates on the fly,” Gaffney said.

Websites optimized for smartphone visitors in South Korea see almost a 90 per cent difference in their share of smartphone traffic, compared with the average site. In the past year, the gap between average and best in class has grown in every single country as the best of best continue to outperform the masses when it comes to optimizing for mobile browsing.

“Smartphone visitors are important,” said Gaffney. “They are concerned with an immediate need and as such it is very important to have your site handle diverse traffic. Sometimes people are just killing time and that’s a great opportunity to get someone to do something they normally wouldn’t.”

In South Korea, the best-of-the-best get 28 per cent of their traffic from mobile, outperforming the average (14.8 per cent) by a considerable margin. This is comparable to the US, where the best get 22 per cent more visits from mobile users than the average of 13.9 per cent.

The gap is narrow in SEA and ANZ, where the best-of-the-best outperformed the average by 4.7 per cent and 6.9 per cent, respectively. Gaffney attributed this to the regions' penchant for tablet browsing, which often happens on a WiFi connection. “I think users may be substituting smartphones for tablets,” Gaffney said, noting that  tablet visitors are more affluent and spend more time online. “So it’s great news that they have such a high tablet share.”


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