ADI: Engagement Falls As Digital Divide Widens Across APAC

Consumers are also less likely to stay on a website after arrival, according to Adobe Digital Index’s new “India Best of the Best 2015” report, though India outperforms the U.S., China, and Brazil.

ADI: Engagement Falls As Digital Divide Widens Across APAC

Adobe Digital Index’s new “India Best of the Best 2015” report may well spur many marketers to increase their focus on engagement and measurement.

The report, released April 28 at the inaugural Adobe Symposium India, is based on analysis of data collected from more than 200 billion website visits globally during 2015. It has found that customer engagement and retention has fallen across most sectors in the Asia Pac region.

“Traffic can’t be taken for granted,” said Becky Tasker, ADI’s managing analyst. “We have to figure out how we resonate with consumers on everything from acquisition to retention to ensure that our businesses continue to thrive.”

Most businesses, not only in APAC but globally, have serious work to do as the performance gap between the top 20% of performing businesses and the average continues to widen, according to the report.

“It’s likely these best-of-the-best performing companies are getting a good ROI out of their current marketing investments. They can use this to reinvest and maintain—if not grow—their lead over the rest of the pack,” Tasker said. “Our top 20 are likely invested in their CRM systems and consumer data. They know how to use this data to improve their marketing, where our lower performers might not be as aware of who their consumers are.”

Customer Traffic Remains A Mystery

Average performers, the report found, are not in synch with where their customer traffic comes from. Consumers across the globe are increasingly using smartphones to browse websites, with the highest year-over-year (YoY) increases experienced in India, China, the U.S., and Brazil. India, in particular, has experienced increased smartphone traffic across all measured sectors.

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In India, smartphone visits as a percentage of overall traffic have risen to 28.2% over the past 12 months and are now slightly higher than the U.S. average at 28%. However, the best U.S. performers outperformed Indian companies in this area, attracting 42.1% of their traffic from mobile devices, compared with 38.5% in India.

Overall traffic, however, has fallen, as Indian consumers visited the same websites less frequently in 2015 in every sector except media and entertainment. This could be due to the competitive pressure spurred by the tremendous growth in the number of new companies during the past 12 months.

The higher visit rates that average companies in India’s media and entertainment sector achieved correlate directly with it experiencing the most smartphone traffic. This indicates that the sector is successfully optimising its consumer Web content for mobile devices, Tasker said.

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The average mobile visit rate decreased by 4% in 2015, meaning fewer people visited company websites on any given month.

“If companies lose repeat or new traffic, they have fewer potential customers. They need to get people to come back to their website, whether through an email marketing strategy, paid search, or utilising other marketing channels,” Tasker said. “If consumers stop coming back to your site, they may go to a competitor that gives them a better user experience.”

More Than Meets The Eye

The report also revealed that consumers are less likely to stay on a website after arrival, regardless of the device they are using, continuing the theme of lowered engagement and consumer retention.

Tasker suspected, however, that more is going on with consumers than not persevering with sites that aren’t optimised for a smartphone experience. “Businesses need to analyse their bounce patterns to see if they can keep people on their website,” she said.

In terms of average stickiness performance (visitors lasting more than one page), India outperformed the U.S., China, and Brazil for both top 20 and average performers. This holds for both smartphones and desktops.

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“It’s a slight win for India, but there is still quite a bit of room for improvement,” Tasker said.

The report showed people are accessing sites more often with their smartphones, but they aren’t hanging around once they get there. As such, the stickiness gap is widening overall, suggesting that the Best of the Best are getting better at keeping their customers on their sites, Tasker added.

While the top 20 continue to stay ahead of the curve, Tasker said average companies that are struggling to keep up can use their data resources better to speak to consumers. “It can’t be just a random stab in the dark,” she said. “You really have to map consumer behaviour. It could be a long, drawn-out process, but it will point you in the right direction.”

Click here to view the full report on SlideShare.