What is digital experience, and why does it matter?
Digital experience refers to the quality of interaction between businesses and customers online – typically through websites and apps.
At a minimum, customers can expect businesses to provide online destinations that load promptly with intuitive interfaces regardless of device. As a business’s digital sophistication increases, they can start to offer customers more personalized and engaging online experiences that keep them returning to (and spending through) a website or app time and time again.
With the upheaval of the past year shifting much demand online, the customer experience provided on digital channels is becoming the main competitive battleground for businesses seeking to secure more customers. For organizations serious about success today, investing in digital experience optimization has never been so important.
This study reveals the latest trends in digital experiences – detailing what frustrates, engages, and converts customers across 11 industries – to equip enterprise teams with the insights they need to make better optimizations across their websites and apps.
Time and time again, we see companies that focus on improving experiences on their websites and apps reap the rewards of more engagement, conversions, and customer loyalty.
To establish the benchmarks in this report, our data scientists crunched a sample size of 4.1 billion user sessions across 11 different industries over 2020.
Study methodology: crunching 4.1 billion user sessions
In order to glean insights for this study, Decibel’s data scientists analyzed a sample size of 4.1 billion user sessions throughout 2020 to identify trends in user frustration, engagement, behavior, as well as the relationship between experience and conversion across 11 industries.
The key technology leveraged by our data scientists to establish these benchmarks was Decibel’s Digital Experience Score (DXS®). Powered by machine learning, DXS® crunches hundreds of smart behavioral metrics to calculate a score between 0 and 10 for every single online customer experience. Based on user frustration, engagement, navigation, as well as form and technical experiences, DXS® is the first universal metric for online experience that can be obtained without having to ask customers a single question.
It rolls up from individual user experiences to audience segments – ultimately outputting a score denoting the quality of the customer experience for an entire website or app.
Furthermore, as demonstrated by validation studies with travel giant TUI and retail magnate River Island, DXS® positively correlates with conversion: the higher a website or app’s average DXS®, the more conversions and revenue it will generate.
Our data scientists aggregated and investigated the DXS® of online destinations across all 11 featured industries. Their general findings are presented as a summary on this page, where you can benchmark results across industries. For industry-specific breakdowns and optimization tips, you can dive into individual industry pages.
The quality of the overall digital experience for each industry
First up, let’s look at the average overall quality of digital experiences across all 11 industries.
Telecomms and automotive are the low performers here, with user sessions in those industries averaging out to a Digital Experience Score (DXS®) of just over 5.8/10. Restaurants, meanwhile, is the top performer with the quality of experiences averaging to a DXS® of 7.5.
User frustration by industry
Online frustration is evidenced by a number of signals.
These can be overt user behaviors like unresponsive multi-clicks, where users tap or click at a high velocity on a particular unresponsive area of the page like a broken link, and bird’s nest behavior, where a user confusedly moves their mouse in jerky, erratic fashion. Or they can be more subtle, like rapid device rotation where content doesn’t fit the screen, and fast-paced and repeated scrolling when users can’t find what they’re looking for. Our data scientists collated all these signals and more to establish the percentage of frustrated page views for each industry.
As can be seen, travel is the worst offender here, with just under 9% of page views featuring instances of user frustration. Retail and energy, meanwhile, offer smoother experiences with just 5% of page views featuring frustration.
User frustration is relatively high across the travel sector, mainly demonstrated through users exhibiting bird’s nest and unresponsive multi-click behaviors. Retail and energy sites are generally better optimized in this regard, with fewer instances of overt digital frustration across the board.
User engagement by industry
Like frustration, online engagement is evidenced by a number of different signals.
These can be overt like reading behavior, where a user follows content with their mouse, and scroll engagement behavior, where users consume content by scrolling down the page in smooth, regular patterns. Or they can be more subtle, like high focus time, select & copy behavior, and low hesitation. All these signals and more feed Decibel’s Engagement Score metric, a pillar of DXS®, the distribution of which is visualized by the industry graph below.
Engagement scores were generally all below 5/10 across industries, showing organizations have significant work to do in better engaging their users – especially in tech, with an average score of 3.9. The only industry to buck this trend was restaurants, with a comparatively strong score of 5.3.
EXPERIENCE & CONVERSION
The relationship between experience and conversion by industry
In terms of a user’s likelihood to convert, the quality of the digital experience seems to have more bearing in some industries than it does in others.
Decibel’s ‘Goals’ feature allows teams to set conditions on a website or app that equate to positive business outcomes, such as a successful sales transaction or sign up.
Our data scientists correlated DXS® with Goals to measure the relationship between experience and positive outcomes
A whopping 95% of goals for media & publishing businesses correlate with DXS®, while the quality of experience does not bear so much on business outcomes for restaurants, with just 53% of goals linking to DXS®. It could be a user’s tolerance for mediocre online experiences is higher in industries where they stand to gain a unique product from the transaction.