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:
- Do consumers prefer free or paid channels?
- How do they arrive at your site?
- Did users do independent research or follow a recommendation?
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:
- Organic search results (SEO)
- Direct traffic
- Referral traffic
- Social media posts (unsponsored)
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:
- Paid Search (SEM/PPC)
- Paid Social (sponsored content)
- Display Ads
- Affiliate Marketing
- Brandzone (Baidu)
- Influencer marketing
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.
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:
- Organic search (SEO)
- Paid search
Here are a few recommendation research channels:
- Paid social
- Affiliate Marketing
- Influencer Marketing
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.
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.
Charity Week 2019: The Paris Team Takes On Community Farming
On Thursday sixty people from our Paris-based team headed out to La Prairie du Canal — an urban farm northeast of Paris run by the French environmental nonprofit La Sauge.
This day of urban farming was part of Contentsquare’s first-ever week of giving back — a global set of events that saw different teams volunteering for their chosen charity.
After a day of getting their hands dirty for a good cause, the team spent the evening playing mölkky (yep — we had to look that up too), pétanque (the French version of the lawn game bocce) and perfecting the art of the apéritif.
We caught up with Fanny Pourcenoux, our Head of UX/UI Design who helped organize the Paris Charity Week outing, to find out whether our French colleagues really do have a green thumb.
Give us a bit of background on Charity Week.
Fanny: Our various culture crews had been wanting to work on a global project for quite some time. We explored several ideas but everyone agreed that to schedule a week in which each office could volunteer for a group and give back to the community would be a great initiative.
Why did you choose to volunteer for La Sauge, in particular?
Fanny: There are so many great organizations out there to choose from. We worked on this project with Wenabi, a group that pairs companies with nonprofits, and helps facilitate these sort of team-wide volunteer initiatives. They were the ones who suggested we partner with La Sauge and spend a day helping out on the farm. It’s interesting to see that our friends in New York also went with an organization with a mission around sustainability — raising environmental awareness has been a big focus at Contentsquare recently.
So what happens when 60 Contentsquare team members spend a half-day on a farm?
Fanny: We worked hard! We did some gardening, of course, but we also learned how to make eco-friendly, plant-based products like shampoo and deodorant. All in all we planted more than 80 bean plants, learned about mushroom farming, prepared a plot of land for new crops, constructed 6 planters, and made over 40 of our own, completely sustainable cosmetics. But as well as improving our gardening and building skills, we also learned a lot about how to reduce our ecological footprint and make better everyday decisions as consumers.
Any other highlights?
Fanny: The team had a great time, and no summer Contentsquare outing is complete without an evening pétanque tournament (at least not in France!). We do a lot of team building activities in this company, and it was really nice to change the focus and work together on something completely unrelated to analytics while helping raise awareness about such a terrific organization and cause.
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.
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.
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.
Worldwide Kickoff 2019: An Interview About Our Biggest Team Trip
With the dawning of each new year, Contentsquare hosts its annual Worldwide Kickoff, our foremost, company-wide trip abroad. This grand event spans three days, in an undertaking to bring together the 300+ employees of the company from around the world.
This year’s Kickoff panned out in the company’s native France, where the team was settled in the woodland commune of Louan-Villegruis-Fontaine for three days of workshops, presentations, games, parties and interdepartmental banter, all in the name of team-building. What can we say? We at Contentsquare do things differently.
But the excursion was not all fun and games — and business — especially if you were the one in charge of arranging the trip, sojourn and activities of a team of over 300 (323 to be precise). But Oana Migeon, our Executive Assistant in Operations managed to do it successfully, having provided a purposeful experience to start the year strong.
We sat down with her to hear her side of the story.
1. First things first. How were you able to manage a four-day company congregation from five offices across the globe?
Clearly this was a HUGE challenge, and stressful. The WWKO is Contentsquare’s biggest internal event. Preparations started in July 2018 and there has been a lot of planning and decisions taken at every step! First, we had to take a massive decision: finding the right location. France or Abroad?
Once the location was found, an organizational team was created. Weekly meetings were scheduled in order to answer typical questions, such as: how can we personalize the location,, the theme of the kick off, the team building activities, the decoration, logistics and travel, as much as possible — and all this had to be done within the allocated budget.
2. What were you looking to achieve with the Kickoff? How does the event fit in with the wider ethos of Contentsquare and what it stands for?
With each year, the impact of the WWKO on the company’s culture has gotten stronger and stronger. I try to reinforce it for those who have been with us for some time, to make it a real and lived experience for the new joiners.
The purpose of 2019’s WWKO was threefold: culture, i.e., to make everybody aware of this culture; bonding, i.e., to strengthen the international links in an offsite location and integrate the new joiners, and alignment, i.e, to have a better understanding of our vision and goals as a company.
3. What would you say were the highlights of the Kickoff?
Seeing the results of a couple of month’s intense work was such a cool personal achievement. Jonathan’s (Cherki, the founder and CEO) inspirational keynote preceded by a rock anthem was definitely a highlight. I also heard that the two parties ended with a great after-party in Bungalow 72 with Nico (Chief Operations Officer) and Pierre (Global Chief Revenue Officer of Sales).
4. Did anything from any of the events surprise you in any way? What surprised you the most?
I was surprised by the good vibes everybody was sending. The Super Hero Party was such a blast! We even had the sun shining bright right before the Color Battle! How cool was that!
5. How do you see the company transforming after a trip like this? Is it because of Contentsquare’s particular growth or the SaaS industry as a whole?
This type of event is definitely transforming the company as a whole. One should not forget our motto “work hard, play hard.” We definitely worked hard this year in order to be able to have such a precious time together for four days in a row.
The KickOff has this outstanding ability of empowering our team, engraving in our heads why we do what we do and where Contentsquare will be in the next couple of years. I feel very lucky to have been given the chance to manage such an important project.