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User Engagement with Brands Online Remains Low Across All Industries, According to Decibel Benchmark Report

The Digital Experience & Conversion: Industry Benchmarks for 2021 report reveals data and trends over the past year in digital customer experiences—and advice for brands across 11 industries on how to optimize experiences in 2021

Decibel, the leader in digital experience analytics, unveiled the Digital Experience & Conversion: Industry Benchmarks for 2021 report, which equips enterprises with the insights they need to understand digital customer experience trends so they can optimize their websites and apps for the year ahead. The study—for which Decibel analyzed 4.1 billion user sessions throughout 2020 across 11 industries to understand what frustrates, engages, and converts customers—found that despite the pandemic causing an upswing in the sheer volume of digital experiences between customers and brands, overall user engagement online is low across all industries.

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The study leveraged Decibel’s Digital Experience Score (DXS®), which uses machine learning to crunch hundreds of smart behavioral metrics—from user frustration, engagement, and navigation to technical experiences—to calculate a score between 0 and 10 for every single online customer experience. DXS® ultimately outputs a score denoting the quality of a brand’s entire digital customer experience and is the first universal metric for online experiences that can be obtained without having to ask customers a single question. Validation studies with travel giant TUI and retail magnate River Island have demonstrated that just a 1-point change in DXS® can make a difference of $30M and $50M worth of annual sales, respectively.

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The Digital Experience & Conversion: Industry Benchmarks for 2021 report found that:
  • The automotive and telecoms industries provide the worst digital customer experiences overall, with an average DXS® of 5.8/10. The restaurant industry has the highest DXS® at 7.5.
  • Travel industry customers experience the most user frustration among all industries, with 9% of page views across the sector featuring instances of user frustration. The financial services and healthcare industries have relatively high occurrences of activity indicating frustration, such as bird’s nest behavior, unresponsive multiclicks, and repeated device rotation, while nonprofits have high incidents of rapid scrolling per user session. The retail and energy industries performed the best, with just 5% of page views featuring frustration overall for both industries.
  • User engagement is low across all industries, signified by engagement scores of below 5/10, meaning that all organizations have significant work to do in better engaging their users—especially in tech, where the average user engagement score is just 3.9. The only industry to buck this trend is restaurants with a comparatively strong engagement score of 5.3, likely driven by the need for restaurants to optimize their websites for online ordering and menus due to the pandemic.
  • The quality of the user experience is positively correlated to conversion in all industries, however the correlation for media and publishing businesses is particularly high with 95% of goals being linked to a correspondingly strong DXS®. Generally, the conversion rate in retail is higher than in other industries, but its correlation to engaging digital experiences is slightly lower—implying that shoppers’ tolerance for mediocre experiences is higher in retail than elsewhere.

“With the upheaval in early 2020 shifting much more activity online, the customer experience provided on digital channels is becoming the main competitive battleground for businesses seeking to win and retain more customers. For organizations serious about success today, investing in digital experience optimization has never been so important,” said Shane Phair, Decibel CMO. “The results of our annual report show us that there’s still plenty of optimization work to be done, and that no business or industry is getting it exactly right.”

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