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Credit by: Sebastian Jespersen

Vertic recently partnered with the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and The Internationalist to analyze the websites of 100 leading corporations in 13 different industries. In the study, we evaluated corporate websites using three criteria – user experience, relevance and the use of technology – and uncovered three major trends that span industries, location and segments

Some of the insights were unexpected. Among the five top-performing websites, two were from heavyweight global brands – Nike and Amazon– but the other three were from B2B companies – Airbus, Accenture and TATA – that aren’t necessarily household names. The industry conclusions also contained interesting takeaways. We expected to see a strong performance from companies in the technology, media and retail industries. Digital transformation hit these sectors early on, and they moved toward the major trends before others. But it was a surprise to find that the aerospace industry was one of the top performers, while companies in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry – brands that have mastered traditional advertising – ranked below average.

Three Characteristics Of Top-Performing Websites 

Each of the most successful websites share attributes that promote a meaningful user experience: 

1. Simplicity

Today’s consumers are navigating a complex world with an abundance of options. Top-ranked companies make it extremely simple for users to find the information they’re seeking.

They do this in two main ways. One, they embed an intelligent search functionality into the site so users don’t have to make sense of convoluted menus or navigation. And two, they adopt a circular content architecture so customers never reach a dead end on the website. They can always keep clicking to access more relevant content that is aligned with their decision journey.

2. Segment Of “One”

A decade ago, companies created

customer personas based on traditional segmentation, featuring demographics such as age, location, gender and income. But now, successful companies are focusing on individualization, tailoring the digital experience for an audience of one. 

They track and analyze customer data – pages visited, content consumed, products purchased and so on – to develop a more intimate relationship with each individual. Companies leading in personalization drive increases in revenue by 5% to 15% and marketing-spend efficiency by 10 to 30%, according to results from a McKinsey survey.

3. Entanglement 

Top-performing companies are creating value-adding experiences for their customers, fostering "entanglement" by connecting with their audience beyond a simple transaction. Through their websites, these companies are providing experiences and content that resonate with customers’ interests and values. Instead of trying to give information to customers, they are designing experiences with them.

Three Takeaways To Use 

Use the insights from this study to strengthen your company’s website. Start with these simple steps: 

1. Map The Customer Decision Journey

Gather user data and study your customers’ behavior on your website. Explore their decision journey from a need basis. Why are they visiting your website? What is their mission or objective? How are they discovering and consuming content? Are they finding what they need? 

2. Make It Easy

Once you have a deeper understanding of customers’ digital behavior, build your content architecture around their decision journey. Think of how you can apply simplicity to the navigation of your site. Do you need to restructure your menus or search functionality? Would a chatbot help answer FAQs? Is the content organized in a way that is intuitive for your customers? Make it easy for them to do business with you.

3. Create Content That Resonates 

Use what you know about your customers – what their pain points are, what interests them – to produce content that speaks with them, leveraging their own taxonomy and syntax. Think of your company as a business partner working with them to add value to their lives. What insights could you share that are relevant to their career or industry? How could you help them solve an ongoing challenge? 

Your website is one of the most significant investments you will make in your company’s digital marketing strategy. By leveraging insights from these global trends, you can design meaningful and memorable experiences with your customers. That's why we're committed to continuing to update our website index and educate brands about improving their websites to keep pace with industry peers and other digital leaders.

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