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Study: Mobile apps, websites show different signals in 2023

Traffic decreased for most websites in 2023.

A new survey reveals mobile app user metrics are heading up while website statistics trend downward.

According to the “Contentsquare 2024 Digital Experience Benchmark Report,” 55% of all analyzed websites saw lower traffic, 58% saw session consumption fall, and conversion decreased by 5.5%. The study also found that 40% of all online visits included avoidable friction, including technical website errors, slow page loads and rage clicks (clicking at least three times in less than two seconds, found in 5.5% of all site visits).

In addition, sites that are slow to load (those taking more than three seconds) and perform poorly in responding to visitor interactions combine to reduce user engagement by 15%.

Paid sources drove one-third of all traffic and 36% of new visits to websites in 2023. For mobile web, paid sources accounted for 40% of traffic, twice as much as for desktop. 

While overall online traffic is down, paid social is one of the few channels that saw traffic growth in 2023. However, social traffic struggled to convert compared to paid search, which still drove four times the conversion rate of paid social. 

The study indicated that visits from social are less intentional, with a 41% higher bounce rate than paid search. Visitors from social may have inadvertently tapped through to a website because of a compelling story or influencer without the intention embodied by visitors coming from paid search, according to Contentsquare analysis.

[Read more: How retailers should respond when media turns social]

Mobile apps show promise

In comparison, the study showed mobile apps recording steady customer engagement in 2023 (14 pages viewed per online visit, up from 13.8 the previous year) and a conversion rate of 5.6%, three times the conversion rate of mobile web traffic. Furthermore, app users spent 64% more time in-app than visitors spent on mobile sites.

Despite mobile driving 70% of website traffic in the fourth quarter of 2023, browsing time on mobile web is 60% shorter than on desktop. These "micro-visits" contributed to a decline in conversion rates, which Contentsquare says highlights the gap between consumer expectations and current mobile web optimization practices.

“Mobile, in particular, is the new competitive battlefield,” said Jean-Christophe Pitié, chief marketing and partnerships officer, Contentsquare. “We’ve seen gains in terms of engagement for apps this year, but mobile optimization as a whole is not as mature as it could be given the intelligence we have today on customer behaviors and preferences. ”

The Contentsquare Digital Experience Benchmark analyzed more than 43 billion sessions and 200 billion page views across 3,590 websites in a variety of industries including retail.

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