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Overcoming frustration: You’re wasting digital dollars if you don’t address website friction

Feeling frustrated? So are your online customers. Richard Taylor explains how you can help them get over the feeling.

This article was originally published at AdNews Australia


As digital marketing costs continue to swell, a counterintuitive trend is emerging: increased spend is not proportionally attracting more web traffic.

In fact, despite plenty of brands ramping up investment, research from experience analytics platform Contentsquare shows web traffic has dipped by 3.6 per cent in the last 12 months, driving the cost per visit up by a staggering 9.4 per cent in 2023 alone.

Couple that with the fact that web visitors consumed less site content last year, viewing fewer pages and there’s a clear challenge for brands that rely on digital. Mobile, in particular, saw dwell times down with the average visiting lasting less than 2.5 minutes.

With the gap between spend and efficiency widening, brands that rely on digital advertising need to do everything they can to optimise their investment.

The root of this issue, according to Contentsquare’s 2024 Digital Experience Benchmark Report, is frustration – friction on websites that hampers potential customer engagement.

Using analysis from more than 43 billion sessions and 200 billion page views across 3,590 websites, the report found that last year, almost 40 per cent of user sessions were marred by frustration, most often slow page loads, Javascript errors, and excessive rage clicks – that’s when a person clicks an element on a website at least three times in less than two seconds. We’ve all been there.

These aren’t just minor inconveniences; they are critical failures in user experience that drive potential customers away, degrading both the perceived quality of your digital presence and your bottom line.

Contentsquare Marketing Lead for APJ Neha Garg said: “Two in five web visits include frustration, which is which is quite a lot. There is a bit of variance between industries but one to call out is travel and hospitality where about 50 per cent of website visitors face frustration.”

This frustration leads to a direct loss of 15 per cent in visit value because frustrated users are less likely to convert, more likely to leave, and often reluctant to return.

So what can brands do to overcome this frustration?

There are a number of steps they can take starting with an analysis of core web vitals.

These include measures such as load time, interactivity, and the stability of content as it loads. One of the key causes of website bounces is Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) which refers to the time it takes for the largest piece of content on your site to load.

Garg said: “More than half of online traffic bounces due to poor LCP. And when I say poor LCP, I mean content that takes more than four seconds to load. Four seconds may not seem like a long time but when you’re browsing the internet, it feels like an age.”

However, addressing digital friction requires more than just occasional tweaks; a strategic overhaul of how websites are monitored and managed is necessary.

Investing in a digital experience  analytics platform (like Contentsquare) and adopting a continuous optimisation approach can help brands identify, manage, and mitigate friction points more effectively.

Regularly revising elements such as page speed, error rates, and responsiveness ensures your website not only attracts but also retains visitor engagement, maximising the return on every dollar spent in digital spaces.

With the cost of marketing only likely to increase further, you can’t afford to ignore website friction. Brands need to prioritise the optimisation of user experience to bridge the gap between high spending and effective digital performance.

By focusing on eliminating digital pain points, brands can transform their websites into dynamic, efficient, and highly engaging platforms that drive tangible business results while stopping the cycle of waste and start investing in a friction-free digital journey that not only meets but exceeds customer expectations.

It’s either that or lose frustrated customers exhausted from rage-clicking.

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