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Forecasting Online Evolution: 2024 Trends in Traffic, Mobile, and Paid Strategies

Explore the anticipated shifts in online behavior for 2024, including trends in web traffic, mobile browsing, and paid advertising strategies.
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Specializing in the analysis of user behavior on a website or application, Contentsquare has published its Digital Experience Benchmark 2024 report.

This annual study provides an overview of online experience and customer satisfaction, based on a rich database of 43 billion sessions and 200 billion page views on 3,590 websites. The result is an overview of consumer behavior on the web, and the health of brands and their online platforms.

Forecasting Online Evolution: 2024 Trends in Traffic, Mobile, and Paid Strategies

Web traffic declining in almost all sectors

E-commerce players face a challenge: should they continue to invest to attract more visitors to their merchant sites? At the start of 2024, the question is worth asking. Indeed, while traffic remains "an important growth driver", the sector is seeing its decline in almost all areas, while digital spending continues to rise. 55.3% of the sites analyzed by Contentsquare saw a negative trend - i.e., a drop - in their traffic from one year to the next (see front page image).

This declining traffic is not sparing anyone in the e-commerce world. Almost all sectors are affected. The decline in traffic between 2022 and 2023 is of the order of -3.6% for all industries combined. Services (-9.4%), energy, utilities, and construction (-8.3%) and software (-7.8%) are the sectors recording the steepest declines. Only the travel (+1.4%) and FMCG (+3.5%) sectors managed to hold their own.

Mobile and paid traffic gain ground

Two trends stand out in the Contentsquare study. The first concerns the use of mobile devices for browsing the web, which has largely overtaken desktop browsing. Across all industries, the share of traffic on mobile devices has reached almost 70% and has grown by 2.6% in one year. "Desktop, on the other hand, is in free fall, with total visits down 11.5% in one year", says Contentsquare. Nevertheless, energy, utilities, construction, and financial services share mobile and desktop traffic almost equally. Conversely, retail, FMCG, and telecoms account for around 70% of mobile traffic.

At the same time, paid traffic is gaining ground on both mobile and desktop. More than one in three visits on mobile (39.6%) comes from paid sources; on desktop, they account for 19.3% of total traffic. At a time when more than two out of every three visits are made on mobile, this finding is likely to cause "a real and growing budgetary headache for digital teams", notes Contentsquare.

The rise in spending on paid sources and the drop in traffic has caused the cost per visit to soar by +9.4%. Brands are faced with a harsh reality: they have to spend more to attract less.

Frustration remains enemy No. 1

Last year, we analyzed the main frustration factors for Internet users. "Two out of five sessions (39.6%) led to frustration in 2023, up 3.9% on the previous year", notes Contentsquare. The main factors in 2022 included long loading times and rage clicks. This year's report shows that the frustration caused by these two elements has decreased. "Brands now need to address a major new frustration factor: JavaScript errors." These are becoming the primary reason for web users' frustration when browsing a website.

"These errors are not to be taken lightly, as they can block engagement and even conversion. Unfortunately, they are also burdensome to manage, with digital teams often having to go through each one to sort out those that are major obstacles to the experience from those that are more innocuous," analyzes Contentsquare.

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