Summer Marketing Campaigns: What 18.6 Million Visitor Sessions Reveal About Summer Sales

With summer drawing to a close, we thought it would be a good time to review one of the season’s most popular digital objectives: summer sales. Never ones to miss out on a data opportunity, we surveyed millions of digital visitor sessions to understand exactly how consumers interact with summer promotions, and how these campaigns are impacting revenue for brands.

In this article, we’ll share what online summer shopping reveals about desktop and mobile use, as well as the difference in digital behavior between buyers and nonbuyers. Relying on unique behavioral and revenue attribution metrics to understand how shoppers consume digital content, we’ll be sharing key insights into the customer journeys of summer bargain hunters.

Summer Sales in the Digital Experience Defined

A summer sale — in the context of digital experience — is defined as a marketing campaign centered on promotions and deals that explicitly mention the season. It often manifests in banners or carousels, with call-outs that feature discounts, naturally ones that allude to the summer. 

In this way, summer marketing campaigns are more broadly encompassing; they don’t refer to just a single holiday such as the Fourth of July and as such, can exist longer than a typical, holiday-focused sale. 

In terms of UX and website design, summer sales take precedence in a designated section of a page, such as a menu, slideshow, or the aforementioned banners.

Methodology

For the purpose of this article, we analyzed customer interactions across 8 websites, in four retail sub-sectors: apparel, accessories, beauty and jewelry. We included all visitor sessions on these sites for the month of July (July 1st – 31st).

Our survey on summer sales drew data from 18.6 million user sessions with a total of 122.4 million pages collected. From this wide set of data, we were able to glean a twofold macro comparison: that of typical behavior on desktop vs. mobile and tablet, and that of buyers vs nonbuyers during the summer sales period we studied in the US. 

Let’s learn how summer sales in 2019 performed in the ecommerce retail industry, in addition to how visitors interacted with summer sales content.


Device Performance for Summer Sales in 2019: Desktop Vs Mobile Vs Tablet

Conversions:

The biggest conversion driver for summer marketing campaigns in 2019 was desktop sales, par for the course based on the findings from our mobile report. Coming in at 4%, the average desktop conversion rate is double that of mobile. This manifests even more prominently in the average cart, which is 14.7% higher on desktop than on mobile — $106.99 on desktop, vs $93.30 on mobile. 

Meanwhile, the average cart on tablet is extraordinarily close to that of desktop, at $106.68. This average is inversely related to summer sales traffic by device, since mobile reaps the highest traffic: 68.01% of sessions, representing a whopping 12.65 million sessions. This number dwarfs tablet sessions, which garner only 5.72% of traffic. Desktop traffic came squarely in between at 26.15%.

Bounce Rates:

Much in keeping with our mobile report, mobile also bore the highest share of bounces, which averaged in at 41% — 6% higher than the desktop rate of 35%. The bounce rate on tablet was in between at 38%.

Time Per Session, Number of Pageviews & Time Spent on Site:

With an average session time of 8 minutes 9 seconds and 6.9 pageviews per session, the data shows that the bulk of summer sale browsing occurs on desktop. Mobile had the lowest stats on both accounts, with an average session time of 4 minutes 8 seconds, across 5.4 pageviews.

Despite mobile visitors seemingly unwilling to linger too long on a site, this audience still rakes in the highest sales volume with 257,000 sales, vs 222,608 for desktop. Nonetheless, desktop revenue remained the highest at $24.8 million.

So what does this tell us? That the gap between user expectations and user experience on mobile prevails, as desktop reigns supreme, with its lowest bounce rates and highest conversions. But with mobile traffic beating out all device types, mobile still presents a tremendous revenue opportunity.

Summer Sales 2019: Zooming In On The Homepage

The first thing we noticed when analyzing homepage interactions was that all summer sale shoppers click mostly on the menu to get to the products (28.10% click rate). The Sale tab on the menu drives only 2.88% of clicks versus 4.91% on the sale banner. It appears that when looking for a shortcut to a summer deal, shoppers will sooner click the banner than the Sale section on the navigation bar.

Although it has a fairly low click rate compared to the rest of the menu, the Sale tab on the menu boasts a healthy Conversion Rate per Click — 11.46% versus 6.35% for the menu — implying that those who do click on it are determined to convert. 

However, the Sale tab was defeated by the sales banners, which generate the highest conversion rate per click at 12.09%.

The high hesitation time on the banner (1.41% versus 0.92% for the Sale tab on the menu) points to a need for optimization; perhaps the wording isn’t clear, or visitors are not sure where or what to click.

Summer Sales: Comparing The Behavior of Buyers And Nonbuyers

Buyer Vs Nonbuyers: Time on Page

We found that shoppers who ended up making a purchase spent almost twice as long browsing as those who didn’t buy anything (28 minutes versus 15 minutes). Buyers also consume many more pages than nonbuyers: 28 vs only 6 by nonbuyers. 

Once they’re on the page, however, they essentially dedicate the same amount of attention to it — 58 seconds for buyers vs 53 seconds for those who don’t complete a purchase. These two audiences also appear to scroll in a similar fashion, with a 59% scroll rate for buyers and 57% for nonbuyers.

Visitors who made purchases consistently exhibited the highest number of pageviews across a wide scope of pages, including category, product and checkout. They viewed three times as many product pages on average than nonbuyers, and more than twice the number of category pages. 

Buyers Vs Nonbuyers: Interaction, Interest & Hesitation 

Overall, buyers were more likely to interact with the search bar than those who stuck to window-shopping, with 26% more clicks on this element. Much like other consumers, shoppers who end up making a purchase tended to access their summer bargains via banners instead of the Sale tab on the menu — 6.20% versus 2.90%. 

To maximize sales, make sure the search bar is prominent — making it sticky assures its viability no matter how far users scroll — and offer the best deals on your banners to take advantage of this interest.

Nonbuyers manifested a larger degree of interest for the homepage menu, with an almost 10% higher click rate than buyers. Nonbuyers were about as likely to click on the Sale tab as buyers (that is to say, not that much), but nonbuyers exhibit a much lower float time on this element, suggesting they are just as keen to score a bargain.

Their higher menu engagement and low hesitation time imply that non-buying visitors are interested in products, but may not have found exactly what they were looking for. Therein lies the need to optimize your homepage elements for this group, particularly the menu; distinct items that are hard to categorize should have their own menu category, or at least exist as a sub-category. 

Nonbuyers have a considerably higher average time before first click on the Sales banner, search bar, Sale tab and menu elements, showing that they ingest content much longer before clicking on it. 

Their hesitation also points to a more cautious attitude. Buyers arrive at summer sales elements with the intent to buy, while nonbuyers are far more careful, which inhibits them from buying. Thus, it is best to accentuate the savings aspect of your sales, sometimes across each item to lure in nonbuyers. Perhaps they won’t convert the first time around, but this will bring them back.

Tips to Optimize Your Summer Sales Campaigns

Understanding how visitor segments interact with promotional elements such as banners and the Sale tab on your menu is the first step to understanding how these areas of your site may fall short of user expectations. Optimizing the experience based on the unique behavior trends associated with various device and segments will ensure you make the most of the season’s revenue potential.

One of the first things you should do is look into what’s causing high bounce rates on mobile. This can be due to your touch areas being too small and other easy design fixes that can put an end to user frustration and therefore, exits. 

There could also be a variety of internal issues on your mobile site or app hindering your UX  and we provide 3 areas of improvement to optimize the mobile UX. Tablet users may also face the same issues that mobile users confront and can therefore rely on similar optimization tactics.

Whether they end up clicking the Purchase button or not, visitors tend to be more attracted to promotional banners than to the Sale tab on your navigation bar, so it is important to concert your tactics on optimizing this region. Take advantage of the higher engagement on the banner by highlighting products through images and text call-outs and maximize interactions by making the entire area clickable. 

Given that the menu receives the highest click rate among buyers and nonbuyers, you should focus your UX efforts on this element as well. Capitalize on it by including all the necessary categories possible on desktop, but keep it simpler on mobile. Make sure it includes a Sale tab for visitors who want a shortcut to discounted products. 

How The North Face Optimized Its Gift Guide By Leveraging Customer Experience Intelligence

Although we’re slightly past mid-summer and have got quite a way to go before the mercury significantly drops, it’s never too early to start thinking about the holiday shopping season. Aside from which products you want to highlight and which promotions to push for the season of gift-giving, you’re keenly going to need to fine-tune your digital strategy. Otherwise, a UX left unoptimized for the holidays won’t reap the sweet bump in holiday conversions.

Optimizing the customer experience (CX) for the holiday shopping season begins with… you guessed it, your customers. There is much you can learn from the data on your visitors’ behaviors during the holiday shopping season — make sure these insights don’t go to waste! Our case study with one of our top clients, The North Face, shows that the proof is indeed in the pudding, as our granular insights informed key CX changes for the 2018 holiday shopping season.

The North Face & Its Primary Holiday Shopping Challenge: The Gift Guide

The North Face is a top-name brand that offers outdoor gear, particularly activewear and equipment to athletes, the athletically-inclined and anyone who wants to go on adventures and look stylish doing so.

Originating as a San Franciscan storefront, the brand has been investing heavily in its online customer experience to better serve the digital community of North Face aficionados. We worked with the gear company to help the team optimize a key digital asset for its 2018 holiday shopping season: its online holiday gift guide.

This gift guide is an annual online experience that helps customers find the right gifts through a wide index of products designated for the holidays. This content serves a critical purpose in aiding Q4 sales and maximizing the mighty potential of the season.

The gift guide was strategically set to go live in October, right before the high tide in holiday traffic, which granted the digital team ample time to analyze the digital engagement of early-bird shoppers. Through a granular analysis of digital interactions, The North Face was able to continue its strategic approach to its holiday shopping campaign, as it directed its UX findings to adjust the experience prior to initiating its gifting-centered marketing campaign.

The North Face is well-known for its outdoor and sporting gear.


Putting UX Analytics to Use

As part of its analysis of the Gift Guide, the digital team surveyed customer interactions on a per-page basis, to reel in a comprehensive understanding of the guide’s performance. The team specifically was on the lookout for frustration and friction points in the customer journey

The team looked at exposure rate, which takes into account how far down a page a user is scrolling and considers a zone seen when over half of it was viewed by a user. 

The North Face continued the UX analysis by studying the click recurrence (which measures engagement and frustration), the click-through rate (calculation of pageviews and clicks) and attractiveness rate (attractiveness of an element, dealing with clicks after exposure). What they found allowed them to make UX decisions rooted in data, which lead to several improvements.

The digital team at The North Face used heat maps and a variety of unique metrics for measuring the user experience of its Gift Guide.


Findings & Actions Taken to Yield an Improved User Experience

The digital team at The North Face analyzed the exposure rate of various elements of the guide, which sets forth how far down a user scrolls. It also dictates that a zone is seen once over half of it was viewed by a user. 

This analysis displayed a low exposure rate of the category CTAs, pointing to a need of adjusting the CTAs above the fold to improve their exposure. This UX change proved to be an improvement, as it brought the exposure rate of the CTAs up by 50%. This resulted in an increased visibility of each gifting category.

Heeding the click recurrence, the team unearthed a frustration stemming from multiple clicks on the hero image. This pointed to the fact that the hero wasn’t entirely clickable, so the team made it so, not just the product. This brought down the click recurrence of the hero to a satisfactory rate, with far fewer clicks since all of it was clickable.

The click recurrence metric also informed the team that there were multiple clicks on links to head to the Women’s Gift Guide page — even though users were already there. Through this insight, the team placed a header title to the page to make visitors aware of their presence on this destination within the site. Consequently, this action also reduced the click recurrence. 

As far as merchandising optimizations go, the digital team observed the click-through rate and attractiveness rate of each gift category. Through these, they were able to discern which categories were the most popular, as well as the importance of the position of these categories on the page. As such, the team moved the most popular ones further above the page to access the most popular items quicker.

The gift guide left users unbeknown that they were already on the Women’s Gift Guide page, unlike this clear-cut section on the website.


Optimizing Holiday Shopping Campaigns

Holiday shopping campaigns, much like many other retail campaigns, require a keen understanding of customer intent and engagement. Customer journeys are never stagnant, so you’ll notice that they alter — even among some common trends from season to season. That’s why you have to constantly monitor them, otherwise, you’re not getting the full picture of how customers and potential customers navigate your website, their frustrations and conversion opportunities.

Looking to granular analytics, the kind that can provide on-page behavior and interactions per element is a cure to the UX ignorance of your site. That’s because this kind of digital analysis doesn’t only show, it tells, particularly the correct implementations to your digital experience. This will assure you don’t remain in the dark on your UX during for the holiday shopping season for 2019, which is fast approaching.

 

A Data-Driven Approach to A/B Testing in 2019

You’re serious about the quality of the products on your site or app and your customer service is flawless. Still, you face increasing competition and your customer churn is high, even among your most loyal audience.

The pressure on your team to prove ROI is huge, and yet marketing budgets have never been as stretched as they are today.

The good news is that brands today have access to a large volume of data, and have all the tools they need to know exactly what engages visitors and what puts them off. A/B Testing, or Split Testing, provides a scientific answer to a problem once solved by intuition alone.

It may be a widespread solution, but that doesn’t mean it’s failproof.

To get the most our of A/B Testing, it’s crucial to plan ahead and be strategic from the start. If you skimp on preparation, you could stand to lose both time and money.

Let’s look at the reasons why.

What is A/B Testing or Split Testing?

A/B Testing, also known as Split Testing or Split URL Testing, is a process that helps marketers compare one or more versions of a web or app page against a control page. It helps teams understand which elements perform better for their audience.

Split URL Testing is slightly different because the control version also has a different URL (visitors are generally unaware of this).

The aim of an A/B Test is to build different versions of a variable, modifying one or more specific elements in each variant: copy, layout, color…

The audience is then split evenly into groups. Each group is exposed to one of the variants at random and for a set period. Analyzing visitors’ digital behavior and more importantly, the conversion rate of each version, reveals which variant performs better and should be shown to a wider audience.

Today, marketers are not the only ones making decisions about customer experience, and consumers directly influence optimizations. 

Why implement an A/B Testing strategy?

Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? The main reason to implement an A/B Testing strategy is for conversion rate optimization.

Acquiring traffic can be costly (Adwords, referral, PR…) and improving the experience is not only easier, it is also more cost-effective. And there are many advantages to A/B testing. A test allows you:

Carrying out an A/B test the “traditional” way

Like heatmaps, the concept of A/B Testing is hardly new. Wikipedia describes an A/B Test as “a randomized experiment with two variants.”It’s impossible to speak about A/B Testing without going over the processes that have traditionally informed this type of marketing experiment.It’s worth noting, however, that these traditional processes are ill-equipped to handle the complex challenges of experience building in 2019

But we’ll get to that in a bit.Generally speaking, a typical A/B Test follows the following steps: 

What A/B Testing allows you to test

The possibilities of Split Testing are almost infinite.

It is therefore imperative to identify objectives so you can keep elements to be tested to a minimum. 

If your objective, for example, is to increase the rate of purchase confirmations following add-to-cards, you might want to test: 

By isolating each element in a separate variant, you will be able to learn what causes visitors to abandon their carts. 

In no particular order, here are other areas for optimization that A/B testing can help with:

Why classic A/B Testing is no longer enough

A/B Testing as we know it no longer works. This might seem like a bit of a bold statement, and yet… 

While everyone agrees on the need to leverage data to improve the visitor journey and, ultimately, the conversion rate, the data-first mindset is not top of mind for all team. In fact, a large number of A/B tests today are carried out with little to no analysis before implementation.

What does this mean? That dozens (sometimes hundreds) of tests are carried out on sites or apps without focus or knowledge that an element is indeed worth testing.  And all this testing comes at a cost!

Teams are already overstretched and testing blindly is a waste of money and time, resulting in conclusions that are shaky to say the least. While there is no question that Split Testing has the potential to drive winning optimizations, teams must urgently rethink their strategy to prioritize the most critical tests and get the most out of their data. 

How to optimize your A/B Testing strategy in 2019? 

Our years of experience in UX and conversion rate optimization have helped us define a much more pragmatic approach to A/B testing. 

Effective A/B tests start with a pre-test analysis.  

Knowing you need to test is good. Knowing exactly which element(s) should be tested is critical.

At Contentsquare, we believe every A/B test should be based on a prior analysis. And this analysis should not be carried out lightly. Indeed, this crucial step enables teams to: 

  1. Localize the issue prior to testing
  2. Prioritize hypotheses or insights to be analyzed
  3. Verify these hypotheses with a managed process 
  4. Draw data-backed conclusions

This approach has helped us define our very own process for analyzing the performance of websites and apps and carrying out pertinent A/B Testing campaigns. Our method follows 4 steps:

Phase 1: Analysis

The analysis takes into account:

This analysis allows teams to identify winning insight/recommendation pairs. 

Concretely, it’s about identifying a behavioral issue on the site or app (insight) and formulating a solution (recommendation) with the help of UX and UI teams.

Phase 2: Criteria

Because it’s impossible to test everything at once, it’s important to determine which insights will have the most impact and should be prioritized.

Criteria are based on:

Phase 3: Strategy

If (and only if!) you followed the steps needed to correctly determine the insights/recommendations, then you are ready to start testing:

For best results, stick to:  

A/B Testing results

We won’t spend too long on this part because, as we mentioned earlier, the most important part of testing is the analysis you conduct before launching an A/B test campaign. 

To learn more about our made-to-measure CX and conversion rate optimization solutions, check out our platform’s capabilities.

With sophisticated data visualizations and easy-to-read, granular matrics, today everyone on the digital team can leverage customer behavior insights to improve the experience on their site or app.

UX Global Map Lessons: Comparing Online Customer Acquisition Marketing Channels

There’s a lot to learn from the way site visitors browse and interact with your website. Then there’s customer acquisition marketing, since before users navigate your site, they must be acquired, which is a digital marketing feat on its own. Much of what we cover is UX (user experience) — the environment and associated feelings users undergo on your website and other digital offerings.

But drawing users in is a major step, a push further down the sales funnel, bring them closer to conversion and certainly a crucial to brand awareness. Sometimes it involves perfecting the UX as well, except as an alternative to onsite behaviors, it deals with those on acquisition channels, some of which you can customize, i.e., social media.

As the final installment of our 3-part series covering the UX International Map, this iteration will edify you on what customer acquisition marketing channels look like through a global lens. After all, if you’re going to set up websites for different countries, acquiring the users of these countries and their distinct acquisition manners is key to be mindful of. 

Acquisition Channel Methodology 

In the past 2 UX map lessons, you’ve read that we parsed through over 35 million visitor sessions in January and February 2019 on 11 luxury websites — that’s 150 million page views and 3 billion clicks. 

The 7 countries we focused our analyses on were: the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, China and Japan. 

For each of the 7 countries we surveyed, we analyzed the performance of 12 acquisition channels — both paid and unpaid. For each country we scrutinized, we asked the following questions to get a deep read of how websites were gaining visitors: 

Free Vs Paid Acquisition Channels

The chief divide of digital acquisition channels is whether they are free or paid. Free acquisition channels, as their name suggests, are outlets that you can leverage for free. They encompass the following: 

Paid acquisition channels are cost-based and these costs are not unilateral. In other words, while PPC ads will cost you for each click on the keyword you bid on, affiliate marketing will cost you the amount agreed upon with your affiliate marketer. These channels include:

The Global Majority of Online Consumers Prefer Free Acquisition Channels

While it’s patently obvious that brands and marketers prefer to acquire consumers through free means, our analysis has found that even from a consumer standpoint, the preferred method of arriving at a new website is from a free traffic source. With a 61% global average share of traffic from free channels, this is something of a global consensus.

The customer audiences in Japan and Italy are at the higher ends of the free acquisition spectrum, as they reach websites through free channels at the respective rates of 69% and 65% of their total acquisition. The US comes in at third, with 62% of its site visitors springing from free acquisition channels.

France has the lowest share of traffic from free channels, at 55%. Germany and China come in second at the low end of the free channel spectrum with traffic rates of 58% from both countries. 

Global visitors mostly arrive at a site via free traffic acquisition, although France drives a large portion of paid traffic.


Acquisition through Consumer Research or Recommendation

Another way to gauge customer preferences and segment behaviors is by analyzing whether visitors land on your site from independent research or by following a product recommendation. It’s crucial to study this, since some consumers arrive at your website through their own due diligence from research, while some need to be marketed to concertedly, i.e., in a direct way, often involving recommendations. (Think targeted ads and sponsored social content).

Here are a few independent research channels: 

Here are a few recommendation research channels:

So which acquisition method, independent research or product recommendation takes the victory among our swath of global consumers? In this type of acquisition square-off, the emerging winner is independent research, which holds the majority across every country we surveyed.

In Italy, 92% of consumers reach a site through their own research, overshadowing the country’s 8% of consumers who reach a site by following a link. China is at the lowest end of the independent research gamut, with 54% of its users reaching websites through their own research, but even this lower rate shows a favorability among consumers to visit a website based on their own findings instead of recommendations made to them. 

Japan and the US follow Italy, with a respective 81% and 80% of users landing on a website through independent research.

Independent research drives most global visitors to a site, but has a varying traffic share per country.

 

Organic Search Traffic Dominates in the US, Italy and Japan

Organic search traffic (SEO) overshadows paid search, affiliate marketing and other acquisition sources in the US, Italy and Japan. This is due to the dominance of free acquisition in these 3 countries, raking in over 40% of user acquisition in these 3 countries, with a massive 70% in Japan.

Traffic from SEO has the highest influence in Japan, with 48% of traffic coming from organic search. Italy ranks in second on SEO acquisition, with 40% of consumers reaching websites this way and the US comes in at third, with 32%.

Reel in Traffic with Display Ads in China

Gaining site in traffic is heavily dependent on display ads, along with the Baidu Brand Zone technology. Procuring 28.2% of all traffic acquisition in China, this channel is a force to be reckoned with in order to increase site visitors. While globally, there is far less dependence on this channel (only 4.1%), in China it is a key player in obtaining traffic. Display ads go in tandem with this channel and also fall within the trend of using visuals to keep users interested.

Email Marketing and Social Reign Supreme in the UK

In the UK, customer acquisition is contingent on social marketing efforts. At 12.4%, social customer engagement spurs twice as much traffic in the UK as it does in any of the other countries surveyed. Aside from social, email campaigns are also drivers of successful traffic, raking in 6.7% on desktop and a heaping 18.4% on mobile. Organic search traffic lags behind in the UK, as far as traffic is concerned, accounting for only 23.1% of traffic, as opposed to the global 31.5% global ranking.

France is All About Paid Tactics 

Whether it’s coming from SEM, PPC or paid social, paid tactics are driving up traffic in France. Paid channels account for almost half of all French traffic at 45%. This traffic mainly comes from paid search, which rakes in 29% of the traffic. SEM in France brings in roughly a third more in traffic than in all the other countries we analyzed. A significant part of the traffic in France is wrought by paid social — 8.4%, as opposed to the global average of 4.7%.

German Traffic: Paid Search and Direct 

German traffic acquisition is dominated by two sources: paid search and direct traffic. Paid search yields 27.3% of all traffic in the country, while direct traffic is even more powerful in drawing in users, as it’s higher in Germany than any of the other 6 countries at 26.1%. The direct traffic average globally is at 21.9%. High direct traffic visitations suggest that visitors in this country have a vested interest and loyalty in big-name brands.

Optimizing The Landing Page — Whatever The Traffic Channel

Understanding how your site acquires visitors, who might later become customers, is as crucial as studying the UX of your website. After all, no matter how ideal your UX is, it won’t matter if little to no one arrives at your website. As such, acquisition channels provide a kind of hook, line and sinker approach where acquisition is concerned. 

Acquisition channels are markedly useful and necessary for drawing in customers, but you must remember their limited scope in your overall digital marketing strategy. As their name suggests, they are good for acquisition but have little to do with retention. These channels may even hurt your UX and thereby conversions if these channels redirect visitors to irrelevant pages.

This is why the landing page is a critical aspect of acquisition — and retention. A landing page that’s relevant and optimized for users will maintain a good UX and digital happiness. So make sure to study the elements of your landings pages and see which ones are detrimental to the customer journey. There’s no point in optimizing acquisition only to lose your customers later on. 

The Digital Experience Report: The Insurance Sector

Aggregators’ laser focus on digital experience has given them an edge when it comes to online conversion. They leverage data to understand how their users behave and buy online, which enables them to A/B test improvements quickly and efficiently to drive sales.

Identifying purchasing trends allows them to spot up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, react to changing customer expectations, and tailor products to meet user needs. Insurers would do well to imitate. 50% of Online Insurance in Europe is sold via aggregators.

Ecosystems Will Account For 30% Of Global Revenues By 2025

7 of the 10 largest companies by market capitalization are ecosystems – Alibaba, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Tencent. 

Ecosystems’ one main focus is to have customer-centric digital activity. Their expansion puts insurance brands at risk. Products like Amazon Protect, focused on device insurance, are the first examples of a potentially untapped market for these tech giants.

Insuretech

9 In 10 Insurers Fear Losing Part Of Their Business to Fintechs

Pressure on margins, loss of market share and information security are among the top concerns for insurers, but according to PwC, a large proportion also see opportunity. Many think new technologies can offer reduced costs through automation, improved customer retention and a differentiated service.

Insurers

71% Of Consumers Surveyed Used Some Form Of Digital Research Before Buying Insurance

To compete, insurers must adopt the same customer-first mentality as digital leaders like Amazon. Namely: A relentless focus on finding and eliminating friction, particularly for key journeys like account registration, troubleshooting and account management.

Many companies fail to improve customer journeys because discovering what customers value isn’t easy. Translating that understanding into operational performance improvements is even harder, requiring deep customer insight, robust analytics, and a detailed model of key customer journeys, with ownership across functions and end-to-end management. 

Digital channels like web and app offer important opportunities to analyze customer interactions and uncover friction. This data is essential to creating services that don’t just work, but delight customers.

Insurance Trends

Traffic per Device: Traffic shifted from desktop to mobile in 2019 – a 48% increase from 2018.

Number of Pages Seen: Visitors seem to consume more content per page, with an increase in the session time (+35% on desktop) but a decrease in the number of pages viewed on average (-6% on desktop).

Percentage of Content That Is Never Seen: Despite visitors consuming more content per page, the percentage of content that is never seen increased.

Average Page Views For A Lead Generation Visit: Visitors consume lots of content before converting whether this is informational content or the form pages themselves.

The Problem

Insight into customer behavior trends is crucial to building an online experience to rival the Amazons of the world. Yet insurance brands still frequently struggle to understand the “why” behind customer behavior, and many still use tools like Google Analytics to get answers. While these tools effectively answer the “what” – ie. which pages are being viewed and for how long, this information doesn’t help when attempting to understand visitor behavior at scale. 

Many rely on session replay tools to try and uncover user experience issues, but few have the time to gain effective insight. Others rely on analysts to answer their on-site questions. This too requires significant time and manual effort, and puts a strain on analyst resources. 

The “Tag, Wait and Learn” methodology is outdated. It relies on having to guess where issues might be ahead of time, leaving businesses “not knowing what they don’t know.”

A Solution?

UX Analytics helps organizations make faster, smarter decisions by giving each team the means to answer their own optimization questions. With these tools, they can access aggregated data on visitor behavior; robust enough to underpin data-driven decisions, and presented in a way that even non-analysts can understand. Contentsquare’s platform is purpose-built to be easy to use, accessible to a large number of users, and not to sit siloed within Analytics teams.

According to our Digital Experience Report on insurance Bank of America has 30 people trained on the tool to measure the impact of every experience, and piece of content. 

 

Find out how Contentsquare’s solutions can help insurance brands by accessing “The Digital Experience Report – Insurance” below

The Call to Action: 5 Tips To Increase Your Conversion Rate

You’ve got months of careful planning under your belt, a fail-proof business plan, an enviable communications strategy, and you’re finally ready to launch your product or service.

Your homepage is the gateway to your brand. You’ve carefully crafted the content on your landing pages to showcase your unique offering. 

But let’s be honest — how much thought have you really put into your CTAs?

Calls To Action, or CTAs, have the heavy task of turning your visitors into prospects.

Their design, location and messaging can’t be an afterthought — they must meet the needs and expectations of your visitors at the opportune moment.

In this post we will look at what makes a good CTA, and how to achieve effective affordance when designing one.

We will reveal the secrets behind the perfect CTA to help you drive a higher click rate and ultimately, more conversions. 

What is a Call to Action or CTA?

A Call to Action (CTA), also known as a call-to-action button, is a clickable element designed to encourage users to perform an action.

Oftentimes, this button sends the visitor to a page where they are able to complete a purchase or subscribe to a service.

The Call to Action is generally considered the second step of your Inbound Marketing strategy, preceding the moment of purchase.

Its main objective is therefore conversion or transformation: that of your visitors into leads. Implementing efficient CTAs is crucial to the performance of your website.

The CTA can take many forms — it could be a button, a banner with an image, or a simple text link. 

It redirects visitors to a landing page or pop-up window in order to:

Given this, it’s crucial you send visitors to a relevant landing page to avoid any visitor frustration. But we’ll talk about that in another post.

The Call to Action Button: a Question of Affordance

It’s immediately obvious your CTA button is a button. Or is it? 

An effective CTA is recognizable instantly and its function is immediately understood. 

Affordance is defined as “the property or feature of an object which presents a prompt on what can be done with this object”  — in other words, the possible actions suggested by an object or element’s characteristics. 

In short: visitors should be able to immediately identify CTAs from their design. Not only is a good CTA instantly recognizable; it also stands out from the rest of the page. When in doubt, remember that a button must match the idea a visitor has of what a button looks like!

It doesn’t matter how beautiful your design is, if an element that is meant to be clickable doesn’t look clickable, your visitors will be left scratching their heads (at best) or leaving your platform altogether.

This is even truer on mobile, where affordance is the only indicator of active in-page elements. Remember: you can’t hover on a smartphone! In fact, the only way to measure the performance of a CTA on mobile is to track clicks.

CTAs and Mobile UX

As discussed above, while the appearance of a CTA is a key factor that influences desktop performance, it’s even more important on mobile.

Digital behavior is heavily influenced by context, and visitors browse differently on their office desktop than on their mobile, especially while they’re on the go.

Browsing while waiting for the subway, walking down the street or perusing items in a store comes with its own set of challenges, and the absence of a mouse or touchpad may result in less tap accuracy.

A survey of 1,333 people carried out by researcher and consultant Steven Hoober revealed that 49% of users hold their smartphone in one hand (the right hand in 67% of cases).

This statistic has given rise to the concept of the Thumb Zone, which sheds light on the importance of the size of devices and site elements and of how this impacts usability. 

Illustration of the thumbzone – Photo Credit: Steven Hoober, UX Matters

 

To get advice on how to design the perfect CTA, we quizzed some of our UX-perts across our offices in Paris, New York, London and Munich. Here are their 5 top tips for creating an irresistible CTA.

1. Make Sure Your CTA is Visible

Because it’s good to start with the basics, a good CTA needs to be visible. This means: 

Make sure you position your CTAs where users expect to find them (add-to-cart buttons, for example, are often located in the top right corner of the page). If visitors can’t see your CTAs, then you’re bound to miss out on sales. 

Here are some common types of CTA buttons:

Dropbox uses a simple design with a lot of space, in keeping with the minimalist look of their homepage. The simple design means their blue Call To Action really stands out on the page, and since the CTA button is the same color as the Dropbox logo, there’s no misinterpreting the message on the button.

2. Create an Easily Identifiable CTA

While a CTA has to be visible, it also needs to look like a CTA (see the section on affordance). A heatmap tool will help you see if your CTA is doing its job — ie. whether customers are actually clicking on it. 

An identifiable CTA has:

Another example of a viable CTA is the “Remember Everything” button on the Evernote website. It clearly communicates the value of signing up, and the green of the main button both reflects the brand’s palette and stands out on the page. 

3. Communicate a Clear Message

The text on your button, if there is any, must be crystal clear. 

The wording should be: 

It’s also smart to:

There’s nothing like a timer to make a user want to sign up. Visitors who spend some time on the Aquaspresso homepage are welcomed by a pop-up CTA, which advertises a limited-time offer and displays a two-minute timer. 

4. Use an Accessible CTA

By now you know that a high-performing CTA is an easy-to-click CTA. 

A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Touch Lab found that the average width of a finger is between 10 and 14mm, and the average fingertip is between 8 and 10mm wide. 

It follows that any clickable element should be at least 10mm by 10mm. Yes, UX is an extremely precise discipline.

Barkbox provides another great example of the ideal CTA, and the two CTAs on their homepage demonstrate how well the brand knows its audience. 

There are many consumers who visit the site are interested in signing up to the service themselves but there are also others looking to give a Barkbox subscription as a gift.

To make their customers’ lives easier, the company has chosen to display two CTAs on the homepage: “Choose Your Barkbox” and “Give a Gift”.

5. A CTA Should be Reassuring

Finally, make sure your CTA is reassuring to your client or prospect. Clicks should trigger a confirmation, which could be visual or audible. The absence of a confirmation could leave the user thinking that their action was not confirmed, causing them to repeat the action needlessly. 

Enabling a confirmation feature limits unnecessary interactions and, as a result, user frustration. 

You can also reassure visitors by clearly communicating that an action can be reversed at any time. Netflix, for example, allows visitors to cancel anytime, once they have signed up — a reassurance feature that had a positive impact on conversions.

You are now equipped will all the knowledge you need to create irresistible CTAs on your web, mobile site or app. Don’t forget that a big part of creating an effective CTA is understanding the intent and browsing context of your customers, and fine-tuning the design accordingly. 

Remember to use CTAs sparingly — too many CTAs kill the CTA.

And, some parting words of wisdom: test, test, test!

Whether you are making changes to the size, color, shape or location of your CTA, A/B testing and granular analysis of customer behavior will help you make the right decisions.

 

 

Why Digital Experience Analytics Matters

Analytics have made a splash in the realm of marketing, to say the least. The need for data is more apparent than ever, as more brands are marketing themselves under the coveted category of “data-driven.” In reality, they are not becoming data-driven fast enough, if at all. 

We can vouch for the fact that data trumps intuition, but aside from arming yourself with industry data that relates to your vertical for market research, it’s also vital to compile site data on your own site visitors. That’s where digital experience analytics solution enters the picture, and it does so in a substantial way. 

Most web analytics platforms show how a websites is accessed, along with some of the activity that occurs on it. Granular digital experience analytics takes this further, in a concerted effort to measure digital customer experience (CX). As such, it offers acute data sets, visualizations and metrics that evaluate and quantify how visitors interact with the individual elements of your website. But not all user experience analytics solutions provide the same granularity of data.  

Most analytics platforms do not take user insights a step further, so they do not give you a more granular performance review of your site or app, meaning that you wouldn’t be able to comprehend how each in-page element is used and how it contributes to a broad set of KPIs. 

In short, user experience analytics is a functionality designed to give you insights into visitors’ user experience. It’s incredibly important for both marketers, web developers and designers alike, as it dictates their strategy and implementations. But not all DX platforms offer the same capabilities.

So why exactly does digital experience analytics matter? Let’s find out.

Understanding Your Customers

If you don’t understand your customers, your website will show, leading to reduced activity, heightened bounces and poor conversion rates. Digital experience analytics allows you to segment your audience based on their behavior, and unlock a much deeper understanding of their needs and expectations.

From what visitors are trying to achieve and how they want to go about achieving it, to what causes frustration along their customer journey, analytics gives brands a nuanced read of these occurrences. Pure play brands are masters at leveraging this type of customer intelligence as they hyper-target their offerings to specific segments. With this approach, they are not attempting to be all things to all users, but are tapping into the minds of their most profitable segments, implementing high levels of customization.  

Behavioral analytics can highlight visitors’ distinctive behaviors on your website, such as where they are most engaged, where they click and how often, the frequency of their hovers on a particular part of a page, the time they spend per page or element and much more.

We recently helped, travel leader Pierre & Vacances identify customer preferences for targeted optimizations. After analyzing customer behavior on its holiday property search results page, the brand found that site visitors were interacting heavily with the “number of rooms” filter (it had a high click rate and a hearty dose of conversions).

However, this filter was lost among a wealth of other filtering options. Based on this intelligence, the brand placed the filter in the second position on the filter bar, making it easier for users to find it. 

The moral of their story is that once you’ve figured out through  DX analysis what your users’ precise intentions are, you can then go about improving your digital experience to allow them to seamlessly complete their intended tasks without incurring any frustration. 

Additionally, it’s interesting to learn about online behaviors of visitors in different regions of the world. As per our Global UX Map, a comprehensive report on the user behavior of visitors in 7 countries, we’ve found just that.

For example, we learned that visitors China are happy to engage with visuals, with a slideshow click rate of 5.5, so adding product images on your China site makes for a great UX. On the contrary, using a lot of visuals like slideshows is less well-received by visitors in the US and Italy, which have the respective click rates of 1.3 and 2.5 on the slideshow, the lowest of all the surveyed countries. 

In both of these cases, DX analytics has the prowess to empower digital teams with localizing knowledge that can assure a positive UX for global users. 

Creating Data-Driven CX Decisions 

Digital experience analytics matter where website design is concerned, as it dictates what the experience will look like for visitors. If it doesn’t, chances are, your analytics platform isn’t very robust and offers little else aside from a traditional traffic analysis. 

A granular user experience analytics space empowers its users to make data-driven CX (customer experience) decisions, and if you couldn’t tell from this blog, CX is not something to ignore. It is critical for the sake of both acquisition and retention, especially the latter, which is important for maintaining a steady revenue stream.

With data providing multiple reference points to optimize your content, you can do so innovatively and confidently. An optimized CX will make it so that you can streamline your customer journeys and remove frustrations, the latter of which impedes conversions. It can also help you detect if there are any errors in the elements that yield conversions themselves, such as CTAs, form fields and buttons that signal making a purchase.

But it doesn’t end with conversion-bound elements. A deep experience analysis can identify a host of other faulty site elements which stir your site visitors into leaving. That’s where a data-driven analysis comes into play, finding pesky problems in the design and structure of your website that can have grim consequences on your CX.

A data-backed CX optimization plan acts as a security net for brands seeking to try new things on their sites. Perhaps there’s a trendy feature you want to try out or a new setup of a crucial site element. Delving into new implementations is a rocky road, but with data on your side, you’ll be informed as to what works and what doesn’t.

Furthermore, making data-driven decisions allows all team members to own business goals, measure the contribution of their revenue and quantify the ROI of the experience.

Making Headway in Conversions

After you’ve done your CX homework, testing what strategies work and keeping close tabs on how your website is used, you check to see the impact. Which ROI is more important than conversions? Most marketers would agree that conversions are of the utmost importance for a business if not one of the most important.

Aside from boosting conversions, digital experience analytics assists in all the steps leading up to conversions, as it visualizes user flows with customer journey mapping. Understanding how users navigate your site is the first marker of what needs to be improved, along with indicating what works and what drives interest among visitors.

As such, granular analytics provides the relevant data and metrics for CRO (conversion rate optimization). Optimizing conversions always starts with measuring the experience on your site and/or app. As for preserving retention, a chief business goal, digital experience insights will assure you know what works and what doesn’t — essentially giving you more knowledge into how to retain conversions by keeping hold of the same site visitors.

Getting The Most Out Of Digital Experience Insights 

Digital experience analytics carry weight with the entirety of your user experience, as it can quantify a host of user data: their interactions, hesitations, frustrations, etc. on your website. Because of this, it should be a top-priority implementation into your marketing plans. However, not all user experience platforms have the same built-in capabilities — particularly the actionable, full-picture data of all the goings-on of your website. 

For example, not all of such platforms analyze individual site elements and how they fare in traditional metrics, let alone more robust ones. So you should be selective when choosing your experience analytics software. Don’t forget: you ought to aim for retention over acquisition, as once your users visit your site and enjoy what they experience, the likelihood of them returning shoots up.

 

The Digital Happiness Summer Roadshow 2019

Summer is officially upon us and — never ones to skip a beat, we’re taking to the road to spread our UX-pertise far and wide. Our team of experts is hitting the road to a city near you to help improve your digital strategy to the max. Our roadshows take a results-oriented approach to digital experience, with a focus on Digital Happiness (which, by the way, you can measure). 

Why? Because we live in an age of experience, and brands today are competing on their ability to deliver experiences that meet (and exceed) the needs and expectations of their customers.

Disjointed experiences, counter-intuitive navigation, in-page frustration, a lack of transparency — a poor site experience is bad news for brands in a world where there are no second “digital” chances. On the other hand, seamless journeys, headache-free paths to conversion and value-adding content are the hallmarks of a successful customer experience. 

So — how exactly do you build standout digital experiences that keep visitors happy (and converting)? How can you make your site or app work harder for you? What tools can digital teams use to gauge customer bliss and encourage engagement? 

We’ll be discussing all this and more. But we don’t just speak on creating amazing experiences — we put our money where our mouth is —  we create them. 

So join us in one of four fabulous locations for insights, happy hour, networking and advice customized for your vertical.

Let’s take a look at what’s in store:

Digital Happiness Roadshow: Dates, Info & Why You Should Attend

Denver 

July 18th, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

The show in Denver (along with the one in Philadelphia) kicks off the Roadshow. We’re starting with a bang, with the show set for Mile High Spirits, a lounge best known for its live music and patio games. If the craft cocktails and light fare don’t fill you up as much as you’d like them to, you won’t even need to walk far, as food trucks line this trendy space. Also, if you love modern distillery and spirits, stay around for some info on how to snag a spot at their distillery tours.

Philadelphia

July 18th, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

In Philadelphia, our roadshow will take place in a historic meeting place — the Philidelphia Distillery, which is the state’s first spirit distillery since the end of prohibition. The meeting place itself was once a factory, a key marker during the state’s industrial revolution. The transformed the 13,00 square foot space was later transformed into a retail store, bar and tasting room. Come for the UX teachings. Stay for the spirit craftsmanship.

Atlanta

July 23rd, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

In Atlanta, our roadshow will leave you shouting from the rooftops — perhaps literally, as it’ll take place in SkyLounge, a world famous rooftop lounge and event space. Here you’ll get to enjoy craft cocktails and gander at incredible views of the ATL. The lounge sits atop the historic Glenn Hotel, situated in the heart of the Centennial Park District, known for being a hub for business and entertainment. There’s no better place to imbibe the sprightliness of the downtown district.

Austin

July 25th, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

We’re hosting our Austin roadshow at Maggie Mae’s, an iconic “bar” that screams Austin. As you can see, we use the word “bar” loosely, as the venue boasts over 15,000 square feet of event space, 7 bars, 3 stages and is steps away from major hotels. It’s anything but boring — the perfect space for a memorable UX lesson. 

In this iteration, we’re partnering with Brooks Bell, a provider of analytics, A/B testing and personalization consulting for enterprise brands. Like yours truly, this company helps with website optimization and has a unique approach to obtaining it.

See you there!

UX International Map Lessons: Product Page Optimization

Welcome to the second installment in our 3-part series on the Global UX Map, the result of our extensive research into digital trends and browsing patterns from across the world. This insightful series is a surefire way to improve your user experience (UX) and boost your digital marketing efforts. In this chapter, we will be focusing on product page optimization.

If your marketing tactics are successful enough to impel users to land on the product page — or if they clicked into it by virtue of their own interest, that is magnificent news. It means your advertising, SEO and content campaigns were competent enough to push users to the page where actual purchase decisions are made. But getting visitors onto the product page is not enough and certainly doesn’t guarantee conversions.

Like your homepage, blog and other site pages, the product page must keep visitors engaged and digitally happy to encourage them to buy. But if there’s one thing we all know about user experience, it’s that one size most definitely doesn’t fit all. And when you have a global patronage — or are seeking to break into the international market — taking into account the needs and expectations of your local audiences is key. UX Analysis Methodology 

As you’ve learned in our previous UX map lesson, we drew our insights from analyzing over 35 million visitor sessions from January through February 2019, on 11 luxury websites in 7 countries. This adds up to 150 million pageviews and 3 billion clicks. 

The 7 countries from which we extracted data on the product page are the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, China and Japan. By analyzing how visitors in each of these countries interact with the various elements of the product page, we were able to understand what works and what doesn’t, and where brands should focus optimizations to drive maximum engagement. 

Visitors In China Most Engaged With the Product Page

While studying the user behavior on the product page across the 7 countries, one country in particular stood out due to its heightened engagement. Consumers in China clicked and scrolled between  1.5 to 5 times more than those in the other 6 countries we surveyed. They also spent more time on the page (25% more than the global average), avidly consuming both informational and visual content.

In fact, the data makes known that users in China often research a product extensively before adding to cart, navigating through many elements on the page, and generally consuming more content than visitors in any of the other regions we looked at.

They were particularly engaged with the product description, clicking on it over 23% more than their global peers. They were also far more interested in the shipping and returns description, with a click rate higher than other countries by over a heaping 95%. With many brands selling exclusively online, shipping costs are often an expensive and unavoidable expense, explaining this extra attention. 

Visitors in China also spent much more time viewing product images than their international counterparts, and were 50% more likely to click on the first product image than their global peers — an upward trend that continues onto the following images. 

Product Delivery and Shipping Descriptions: Vital in Japan

Descriptions on the product page go a long way to reassuring shoppers in general, as does clear information on shipping and returns. This is most discernible in Japan, where mobile consumers are often reluctant to make a purchase before reading all the information about a product of interest, including its shipping and returns policy. 

In fact, the click rate on the product description is 47% higher in Japan than in any of the other regions we studied, and the click rate on the shipping and delivery info, 48% higher.

The US and UK Have a Stronghold on Customer Trust

Visitors in the US and UK spend less time interacting with the product page. In both regions, product visuals receive 22% fewer clicks on the first product images and 53% fewer ones on the third click, compared to global averages. 

The scroll rate on the product page in the US and UK is also lower than the global average, coming in at 53% versus 56% for the rest of the world. The click rate on the textual content is also considerably smaller in the US and UK than in the global average. 

Precisely, the click rate on product descriptions sits at about 4.1%, versus a 4.5% global average. Meanwhile, the click rate on the shipping info in the US and UK is roughly 0.5%, while globally it’s at 0.7%. 

With truncated engagement on the product page, visitors from the US and UK clearly have less time in their customer journey to take in the content on this page. Instead, they make hastier decisions, so you have to catch their interests quicker than those from the other European and Asian countries. If you do, you will earn their trust, proven by their quicker conversions, which occur without skimming through visuals and reading content that’s further down the page.

Visuals Take Priority in Germany and Italy 

Chinese visitors on product pages aren’t the only ones captivated by visual content. Much like these constituents, visitors in Germany and Italy also show high levels of engagement around product images. These visitors click 7% more than their global counterparts on the first image, 6% more on the second and 28% more on the third on all devices.

Visitors in Germany also have a favorability towards the product description, clicking on this element 11% more than the other countries surveyed. As such, this element is crucial in their customer decision journey. A product description may compel or dissuade these users from making a purchase, so assure that your product descriptions are up to par, being both informative and marketing-friendly to convince your German audience to buy.

Product Images in Relation to the Product Page for Visitors in France 

The use of the product page in France can seem to be contradictory — giving the impression of both a low and high engagement of the page. Visitors in France are much less engaged on virtually every element on the product page, with fewer clicks on product descriptions, shipping info and images, coupled with shorter session times.

However, despite a low session time and engagement with these elements, shoppers in France total in a 60% higher time spent on page than the other 6 countries. This discrepancy relays an audience that is not as interested in content related to the product so much as interest in the product itself. 

As such, these users shouldn’t be disregarded; they are still good candidates for conversions, but they must be interested in the product from the get-go, so you should use other marketing channels to promote your products, so by the time shoppers arrive at your product pages, they’ll be interested enough to convert, or learn more. 

Refining the Product Page for a Global Audience with UX Recommendations

Product page optimization begins with making the right changes or additions to your product pages across its global editions. No matter how optimized your product page appears to be, remember that it won’t be received in the same manner globally. Here are several data-backed suggestions on product page optimization from a globally-oriented perspective. 

For US and UK visitors, opt for simplicity; there is no room for clutter for the least engaged duo in the product page. Align your text and images with a minimalistic style — nominal text, low interactions, large images and as little scroll as possible. The goal is to create a quick and easy consumption of the page. Don’t both laying out a shipping policy, as users from these countries are accustomed to cheap shipping and free returns. 

The UX optimization of the product page on your Chinese site is in direct opposition to the US and UK, since users there are much enthused about content on the product page. Since users in China are prone to scrolling, design your page with a vertical interface. You can rest assured that loading your product page with content will stimulate high engagement. Feel free to add affiliate links, reviews, images, descriptions, articles, etc. You should pay close attention to the product and shipping descriptions since there is high engagement there. Visitors in China are less certain on shipping, so give them cost-efficient options. For more slider engagement, speed up your load time; it is notoriously slow in China.

Much like China, the consumption of product and shipping descriptions is also high in Germany and Italy, particularly on mobile. Posit your product in the best possible light in these descriptions and provide all the relevant info on them, as visitors in Germany and Italy are inclined to read them. Make sure they are easy to access on mobile.

Since product imagery has a decent performance in Germany and Italy, don’t be scant in your product images on your site in these countries. Include at least 4 product images per product page. To ensure slideshow images are seen, implement visible arrows on the slideshow. While both countries are fans of images, visitors in Germany prefer horizontal navigation in the carousels, while Italians favor the vertical variety. Don’t forget to add a zoom function on your images.

Since users in France have a rather contradictory behavior on the product page — a long time spent on the page but few interactions with individual elements, you have to optimize accordingly. This may appear challenging, but luckily, there is a way to maintain a balance between few interactions and high consumption. To achieve this balance, insert a summary of the content above the fold with anchors that steer users further down. A long time spent on page means that these users are willing to consume it, so long as they don’t scroll. 

Optimizing the Product Page

As there is no marketing “one size fits all” strategy, the same should be applied to your globally existing product pages. As our UX map findings show, browsing behaviors vary from country to country, and it’s enlightening to be able to identify and sort them into different global localities. Localizing the user experience begins at understanding what needs to change and which areas of the UX require the most attention. To capitalize on this localization, you should continue studying user behaviors through unique metrics like scroll rate, time spent on element, conversion rate per click and more. 

The Global UX Map: Menu, Search Bar and Slideshow Usage Around the World

Digital marketers, website developers and ecommerce businesses from far and wide: welcome to a 3-part blog series constructed from our Global UX Map — an in-depth report on digital customer behavior from around the globe.

While we strongly recommend you download our UX map, which offers a wealth of data-backed insights on how worldwide site visitors browse websites and interact with specific pages/ in-page elements, this series will condense some of these topics for a more organized, topic-based read. As such, this series is set to help you increase your ecommerce conversions in a more focused way.

In this round, we’ll illuminate our recent findings on the menu, search bar and slideshow usage through a global lens, and provide tips on how to optimize these elements to cater to your international or US-based audience. 

UX Analysis Methodology

We ran our UX analysis on over 35 million visitor sessions from January and February 2019, on 11 luxury sites in 7 countries. This rendered 150 million page views and 3 billion clicks. 

We observed visitor interactions with the menu, search bar and slideshow starting domestically, in the United States. Our international analysis gathered data from 4 European countries: France, Germany, the UK and Italy. Additionally, we studied the UX in 2 Asian countries: China and Japan.

The aforesaid UX elements we studied all exist on homepages, so this post will discuss the top-priorities for the homepage in particular. These 3 UX elements all point to critical visitor mindsets — determined if they leverage the search bar, seeking inspiration from the slideshow, or methodically browsing the menu. 

The Attractiveness Depends on the Device

The menu, search bar and carousel have varying levels of attractiveness depending on the device, and visitors engage differently with these 3 UX elements on mobile and desktop. 

Desktop visitors, for example, are more likely to engage with these features than their mobile counterparts, except in the UK. There, mobile visitors clocked in 7% more interactions with the menu, search bar and slideshow combined than desktop users. 

In all other countries, except China, mobile yields 20% fewer interactions with the menu, search bar and slideshow. In China, this lowered attractiveness is compounded, with mobile driving 70% fewer interactions than desktop. 

Per these findings, you should expect more usage of all 3 UX elements on desktop, and you should be thinking about ways to efficiently and seamlessly guide customer journeys on mobile

The Slideshow: Not Getting Much Love from the US and Italy

The click rate on the menu, search bar and slideshow differs from country to country; some regional audiences are much more likely to click on these top homepage navigation elements. 

France has the highest combined click rate on all three of these elements on desktop (see above), while the UK has the highest click rate on these elements on mobile (49%). 

Users in the US, however, are not so click-happy when it comes to these top homepage elements, as they average in the lowest click rate of all the countries surveyed on desktop, roughly 43%. The US also holds the second lowest click rate on mobile, at 33%, only to be outdone by China, which has the lowest click rate on mobile, with only 13%.

As for the slideshow, visitors in the US and Italy show the least interest in this feature. The US has the lowest slideshow desktop click rate, at only 3.7%, followed by Italy, at 3.8%. Across all the countries we studied, the slideshow and the search bar received the least amount of interactions, with the menu coming out on top.

Slideshows drive small engagement in the US and Italy.


Visuals are a Big Engagement Driver in China and Japan 

Visual elements are a crucial ingredient of a good UX in China and Japan, as they produce the most engagement and fastest time to first click. Indeed, visitors in China and Japan are among the first to click on the slideshow. Japan proves that images rule, with the shortest time to first click — 87% faster than the global overage. The time to first click in China is 28% faster than that of the other countries.

While the slideshow is well-received by visitors in Japan and China, the search bar and menu don’t forge a good UX for these audiences, especially on mobile. These 2 site elements garner less interactions within these countries due to their complex writing systems. These elements are ill-adapted to Japanese and Chinese and it shows in the data, particularly in China, where the menu has 74% less engagement and the search bar 60% less than in the other countries. 

While visuals do well in China and Japan, the menu and search bar underperforms in these countries on mobile.

The Search Bar and Menu: Successful in the UK 

Unlike visitors in Japan and China, those in the UK are much engaged with the menu and search bar, as they depend on it more than any of the surveyed countries. Certain in what they want, this audience is eager to find the quickest path to product. 

Opposing the UX in Japan and China, the search bar is crystal clear to UK visitors, who use it roughly 45% more than the users in all of the other countries we surveyed. Mobile visitors in the UK also dominate in menu use, and are 50% more likely to rely on this feature than anywhere else.

Specifically, the UK click rate on the menu comes in at 38.3%, the highest out of all the countries on desktop. Its click rate on the search bar is also the highest, at 6.7%.

The Menu Reels in the Best Usage in France and Germany

The menu is the most preferred navigation element in France and Germany, which reels in over 15% and over 11% higher engagement, respectively. Visitors in the UK and Italy are also highly reliant on the menu, while Chinese and Japanese visitors rarely use this function.

With a much heftier use of the menu in Europe, you ought to capitalize it by making it adhere to a clear, visual hierarchy. But it should also have an air of simplicity to maintain its good results for these countries.

More Formulated UX Tips from our Data on a Country Basis  

Here are a few more tips we extracted from our data assembly: 

Visitors in the US, UK and Italy are determined in their browsing and are looking for the shortest, most direct path to the product. So there’s no need to cram the slideshow. Instead, feature a highly visible, sticky search bar on mobile. This will assure that no matter how far down these global users scroll on the homepage, they’ll have an omnipresent shortcut to the product. Make sure this UX element is fully optimized: enabling an autocomplete function for all search queries will also appeal to this audience.

A general deduction of the European countries we examined is that visitors in these countries are highly engaged with the menu. Optimize it for desktop with a hoverable dropdown feature for ease of use. On mobile, a hamburger icon is a popular, quick menu access solution.

Accentuate the bestselling items on desktop and create a shortlist of recommended products and product categories. Another great UX strategy is to suggest content based on searches such as blog posts, videos, etc. This also presents a solid internal linking opportunity — not all of your content will be stumbled upon by SEO.

Remember, audiences in China and Japan interact heavily with visuals. Go bold with the slideshow: meld in dynamic content such as standout colors, videos and inspiring images. Use product links on the slideshow to lessen the path to purchases. Each image does not have to be bound by one product link. 

Since the use of the menu and search bar is low in these countries, add a sticky navigation bar, so it stays in your users’ site even as they scroll down the page.

Optimizing Navigation UX

That does it for our findings on the usage of the menu, search bar and slideshow across 7 countries. It’s time to start tailoring the UX of these site elements in line with the expectations of your local audience. 

Localizing the user experience is not simply limited to applying the language of the country your website is tailored for. Brands that can localize the experience in accordance with user expectations and habits will be well poised to improve retention and conversion rates, allowing them to conquer international markets.