The demand for immediacy is greater than ever because so many people are connected 24/7 through broadband at home and work, and mobile devices. People don't have time for unnecessary ''friction'' between them and the content they want, and when they encounter friction, they're ready to click the ''Back'' button in an instant.
Today's businesses, whether online or bricks-and-mortar, cater to consumers' need for instant gratification in many ways, such as:
- Offering same-day delivery
- Mobile payment apps
- Providing entire TV series online for marathon viewing
- Allowing forms to be filled online rather than in person (such as with medical practices)
These perks allow organizations to satisfy customers quickly and minimize friction points in all transactions. Here are some ways businesses improve audience development by minimizing online friction.
Getting the Technology Right
If your site's web pages load slowly, audience development efforts can be severely hindered. Mozilla found that for every second page load time increases, conversions drop by 2.7%. Moreover, nearly one-third of consumers abandon slow-loading sites after one to five seconds. Google discovered that an extra half-second of search page generation causes traffic to drop by 20%, and Amazon says that every 100 milliseconds of latency costs them 1% in sales, according to GigaSpaces. Your first, and perhaps most important, task in minimizing is ensuring your page load times are as short as possible.
Letting Potential Customers See It Now
Sites that offer custom goods, like invitations or business cards, often allow customers to see what the finished product will look like before ordering, improving their sense of ''ownership'' of the product and heightening anticipation. Such features can also convince skeptical browsers to go ahead and make a purchase.
The ''see it now'' approach works in numerous industries. Hair color makers, for example can allow people to upload photos of themselves and ''try on'' different colors before buying. Interior decorating sites may allow uploading of room photos so people can envision what rooms will look like after they're painted a particular color.
Making Conversions Easy
If you've presented content designed to sell a viewer on a subscription, product, or service, make it clear where the viewer should go next. Visitors need to be able to see how to follow through, or they won't bother. Knowing how the typical viewer scans pages can help. The Nielsen Norman Group did an eye tracking survey that found pages are often scanned in an ''F'' shaped pattern. First, readers read horizontally across the top of the content area, then horizontally across a slightly lower area. Next, the user scans the left column of a page vertically. If your ''Subscribe Now'' or other actionable link isn't readily visible, you could be losing out on conversions.
Understanding What Analytics Are Trying to Tell You
One of the most important ways you can aid your audience development efforts is to look at the story your website analytics tell. Your analytics should inform you about bounce rates, time spent on your site, pages visited, and numerous other metrics you can use to improve the visitor experience. Your analytics can also tell you how quickly your pages load, so you can make improvements if visitors abandon your site due to poor load times. Analytics may not tell you the story you want, but they do tell you what you need to know to reduce visitor friction while they're on your site.
A 2011 study in the UK found that the typical internet user visited over 2,500 web pages over 81 domains and 53 web browsing sessions in the month of November that year. People consume a lot of content, and with the widespread (and increasing) use of mobile devices, audiences are growing even more, during more hours of the day. This is great news because it allows you to reach your target audience even when they're not sitting in front of a computer. Mobile can be a boon to audience development, so it's critical that you make site visits as fast as possible, and minimize the friction between your users and your content.
At RealMatch, we deliver recruitment advertising solutions for digital publishers and media companies. Find out more about how a custom job board on your site improves audience development and opens up a potentially lucrative revenue stream at the same time.
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