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When it comes to website performance, a number of factors need to be considered: How sticky is the content? Are users encouraged to drill deeper into webpages? How much time are they spending per visit? And increasingly important, how well are websites optimized for tablets and smartphones?
A January 2013 study by Adobe examined how various industries' US websites stacked up in terms of site performance and pinpointed those industries that stood out in certain categories.
When it comes to how long consumers spend on websites, for instance, Adobe found that the top-performing media and entertainment site kept users on the site for about 12 minutes per visit. Although it might not be that surprising that an entertainment site would capture the most user time, it's interesting to look at the gap between the top-performing media and entertainment site and average site performance, which clocked 8.88 minutes per visit. Adobe noted that adding video and rich media to websites helped boost minutes per visit.
Adobe also examined website stick rates, defined as the percentage of visits that result in more than one webpage view. The top-performing financial services site excelled at getting users to drill deeper and click on page links.
Overall, travel and hospitality pages averaged the highest stick rate, while media and entertainment fared worst by this measure. Adobe suggested that stick rate is an important indicator of acquisition and engagement. The more consumers engaged with content, the likelier they were to convert.
More disparity surfaced between the top-performing site vs. average site peformance when it came to tablet and smartphone traffic. According to Adobe, the top-performing site that got the greatest share of traffic from smartphones was again in the media and entertainment category, with top-performing retail sites and travel and hospitality closely trailing behind. The average percent of internet traffic coming from smartphones to these categories was over 10% for each.
When it comes to tablets, retailers, perhaps unsurprisingly, take a fair amount of internet traffic. The top-performing retailer site studied got 13% of internet traffic from tablets. Travel's top-performing site trailed closely behind, with 12.6% of internet traffic from tablets.
Notably, there was less disparity on tablets between the average performance of sites and the top-performing sites in each industry. Perhaps this is due to brands realizing the likelihood of consumers shopping on their tablet and putting more consistent effort into optimizing for the devices.
Still, the results suggest that the high-tech industry, in particular, could stand to refine its tablet site strategy. Both the top-performing site and the average performance of sites ranked quite low. Although it might not be a highly visited category among tablet users, Adobe found that rich media and videos created better tablet experiences for this industry.
Sites optimized for tablets and smartphones are more likely to encourage mobile purchases, and conversion will be increasingly important on the devices going forward. eMarketer expects US mobile buyers to reach nearly 73 million this year, up 38% from 2012.
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