Engaged Web Report 2012 - New Zealand


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Just how well do New Zealand’s most popular websites engage with their users? The Engaged Web in New Zealand Report 2012 benchmarks engagement levels of New Zealand’s most trafficked sites across ten industry sectors.

The verdict? New Zealand’s websites have upped the ante in the past 12 months, and are engaging in more ways, and across more platforms, than ever before.

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Engaged Web Report 2012 - New Zealand

  2. 2. INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. . . . . . . . . . . 6 ONLINE COMMUNITIES AND SOCIAL MEDIA. . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Results overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Who’s doing it well?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 The rapidly changing world of social media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 MULTIMEDIA CONTENT. . . . . . . . . 12 Results overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Who’s doing it well?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 PERSONALISATION. . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Results overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Who’s doing it well?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15Intergen is proud to present The Engaged Web in New Zealand Report, STICKY CONTENT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 a benchmark survey of New Zealand’s most highly trafficked websites. Results overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 © Copyright 2012 Intergen Limited. Who’s doing it well?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 BLOGGING. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Results overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Who’s doing it well?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 MOBILITY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Results overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Who’s doing it well?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Mobility, mobility, mobility. . . . . . . . . 21 THE BASICS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Results overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Who’s doing it well?. . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 DESIGN. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Results overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Who’s doing it well?. . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 CONCLUSION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 ABOUT US. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 About Intergen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 About Experian Hitwise. . . . . . . . . . . 27 About EPiServer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012 3
  3. 3. Introduction But how well are we doing? Everyone knows that there is more and more digital content than ever before; there are more devices than ever to consume media and create content; and the speed with which we are able to share digital information continues to increase. The digital haze that now sits over our non-digital lives is becoming increasingly pervasive; and the lines between working and socialising – and what used to be regarded as private information and private lives – seem to be blurring all the time. But are we actually more engaged? Are those brands, organisations and businesses that are the most popular in New Zealand, getting better at connecting with their users, their customers, their followers, their fans and their connections? The short answer is yes. They are doing a significantly better job than last year. But there’s still plenty of room for improvement. And with the speed at which the web moves, there’s no time to rest: engagement of your users requires Increasingly, New Zealanders are using the web everywhere we go. So the challenge for many constant focus. organisations is to create an engaging and consistent experience across multiple platforms. We’ve taken a very subjective concept – engagement – and endeavoured to provide a benchmarked snapshot of how our mostJust how engaging are New The 2011 New Zealand World Internet popular websites rate.Zealand websites? Project (AUT University) cited the following Is it possible to measure engagement? Why statistics:New Zealanders are some of the most seek to quantify what is a very subjectiveenthusiastic web users in the world, and the »» Use of the Internet in New Zealand has term? Everybody understands theresults of this year’s Engaged Web Report continued to rise reaching 86 per cent in importance of making something reallystrongly attest to this. In measuring New 2011, up from 79 per cent in 2007 and engaging, but when you try and break thisZealand’s most trafficked sites two years in a 83 per cent in 2009. into singular components, things canrow, within the space of a year we’ve seen »» 69% of respondents rated the Internet as become tricky. Nevertheless, this reportsignificant change and greatly increased an important source of information seeks to do just this.engagement levels amongst nearly all of ahead of television, newspapers, radio This report outlines the results of a recentNew Zealand’s 50 most trafficked sites and other people. study that attempts to measure onlineacross ten industries. »» 58% of New Zealanders feel the Internet engagement in New Zealand across 10The web has come to touch every part of our is important or very important in their different industry sectors.lives. Our appetite for all things web is everyday lives. Engagement requires continuous effort, andvoracious, and research shows us that we’re »» Almost half (48%) say they use the in the conclusion to the report we haveonly getting hungrier, more demanding and Internet to sell things.1 made some suggestions about how best toless accepting of sub-par online experiences. In addition, a study published in September engage. Again, every organisation will be 2011 found that New Zealanders spent quite different, but we consider there are longer on Facebook (per session) than any simple steps that you can take right now to other country (excluding Singapore).2 help assist in how you use the web to And smartphone penetration in New engage with your customers. Zealand is the ninth highest in the world, between Norway and Denmark.34 BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012
  4. 4. MethodologyIn order to obtain an insight into how some As a result, the website examples used The engaged web categoriesof New Zealand’s leading brands and larger throughout this document are not we measured the websitesorganisations are making their websites and necessarily taken from the list of top 50 against included:overall online experience more engaging, we most trafficked websites. In order for us tosourced a list of the top five most highly show relevant examples in each area, we 1. Social media ANd online have selected best of breed New Zealand communities 4trafficked sites in ten industry sectors, as »» Does the organisation use social mediacalculated by leading online measurement websites, irrespective of whether or not to share and distribute their content?services company, Experian Hitwise. these feature in the list of New Zealand’s most trafficked sites. »» Does the organisation actively initiate,A sample of only five websites for each participate and respond to discussionssector was taken and, for this reason, results Each website was analysed between April 8 within their community?should not be generalised or considered to and April 20, 2012. Each organisation was »» Do they have a unique voice?be exhaustive in relation to ‘New Zealand scored against a matrix of Engaged Web »» How often does the company uploadwebsites’ or specific sectors on the whole. categories in order to create an overall information and news to share withIn places where sector results were assessment of their engagement levels, to their community?dominated by overseas websites, we selected provide an overall score out of 100. The 5five New Zealand websites from the top 20 percentages in this document do not 2. Multimedia »» Does the organisation use a rangesites in that industry in order to keep our include a decimal place and have been of rich and interactive media tocommentary local. The data is based purely rounded down. Please note that communicate effectively?on how many visitors visit each site, and not organisations analysed in this report may »» Is the website copy engaging andany other subjective basis. have changed their websites since the easy to read? assessment.The rankings data is based on market share 6 3. Personalisationof visits, which is the percentage of online We added a new category, Mobility, and we »» Is there any evidence of personalisationtraffic to the website during the period merged some of the previous year’s on the website (allowing users tosurveyed. Each day, Hitwise provides insights categories because they are now so similar personalise their experience)?on how 460,000 New Zealand Internet it’s hard to meaningfully distinguish 7users interact with more than 1 million between them. For example, we removed 4. Sticky contentwebsites, across 165+ industries. Online Communities, Social Media and »» Does the website’s content compel Dialogue and replaced them with Social the user to engage for longer thanThe ten sectors examined were: Automotive, anticipated, and does the user want Media/Online Communities.Banking & Finance, Education, to return?Entertainment, Food & Beverage, Because of notable changes in the web 8 5. BloggingGovernment, Health & Medical, Lifestyle, since last year’s study in early 2011, the »» Does the company have an official blogNews & Media, and Shopping & Classifieds. 2012 criteria against which websites are and is it updated regularly? analysed has been altered in certain placesFor two of the ten industry categories – »» Is the blog’s content of a consistent and to better reflect current web directions andHealth & Medical, and Lifestyle – the five high quality? trends. Specifically, we have recognised thewebsites were selected from a wider range increased adoption of social networks and 6. Mobility 9of data, as the top five most visited sites in mobile technologies and we have »» Are mobile-optimised versions of thethese categories were all international site and/or native mobile applications incorporated these into our survey andbrands. available on devices running: subsequent reporting. • Android (Google) • iOS (Apple) • Windows Phone (Microsoft) »» Are users made aware of the mobile version on the organisation’s website? »» Where mobile/tablet applications are available, what is the quality of the user experience? 7. The basics »» Is the website easy to use, with clean and consistent navigation? 10 8. Design »» What is the overall quality of the website’s visual design? BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012 5
  5. 5. Executive SummaryIn the past 12 months, websites in New Zealand have invested significantly in making theirsites more engaging, while also embracing the opportunities created by the adoption ofsocial media and mobile devices. 2011 2012 #1 Entertainment #1 News & Media #2 News & Media #2 Shopping & Classifieds #3 Shopping & Classifieds; Health & Medicine; Automotive #3 EntertainmentIn 2011, we conducted our first Engaged Webstudy based on previous studies carried out byEPiServer in the United Kingdom andAustralia. This year we have done the same,benchmarking the concept of engagementacross New Zealand’s 50 most trafficked sitesin 10 industries.What did this year’s resultsshow us?When it comes to the web, we’re moreengaged than ever. New Zealand websites arecontinuing to embrace the web as a channel,with many industries (in fact, nine out of ten)significantly increasing their levels ofengagement.It’s not just about the Mothership. We’recoming to expect brands to engage with uswherever we are, on multiple devices, innumerous ways. It’s no longer enough to thinkonly about your ‘Mothership’ website.Internet-via-mobile is New Zealand’s greatestweb growth area. As a result, the weblandscape has become increasingly fractured– the web isn’t just about websites – andwebsite owners will need to stay mindful oftheir users’ changing needs (and devices) inorder to stay engaged.It’s mobile. New Zealanders are embracingmobile technologies and utilising smartphoneand tablet devices in increasingly largernumbers. By virtue of their personal,one-on-one nature, these devices inviteengagement, and many of the organisationsassessed are investing heavily in this area. The 2012 engagement levels are summarised above, across the ten vertical sectors we analysed.6 BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012
  6. 6. While some sites and services are simply be waning: within a 12-month period a 24% It’s getter harder torendering their websites in a suitable mobile decline in blogging activity was noted across be excellentformat, others are investing in the our most trafficked sites.development of targeted mobile With the bar continually raising, with web Overall, the best are doing better; the less trends evolving at pace, and with so muchapplications, designed for a particular engaged are (for the most part) doing more. online noise, it’s increasingly hard to standaudience or a specific function or capability(for example paying a bill or checking a out from the crowd. And with so many Nearly all sectors that we surveyedbank balance). As mobile devices become devices to consider these days, too, demonstrated an increased level ofmore prevalent, investment in these organisations are often forced to stretch engagement. Some sectors – such as News &solutions are likely to significantly increase themselves thinly, hedging their bets across Media, Shopping & Classifieds and Bankingin the near future, and for many years the myriad channels in which their target & Finance – demonstrated a greater level ofto come. audiences participate. The trick for engagement despite already demonstrating organisations with limited resources will be a reasonable level of engagement last year.Social is the norm. In many areas of our to do fewer things, and to do them well. While Government is the sector with theonline activity we’ve come to expect social lowest overall level of engagement, it Our digital footprints are growing andinteraction. 90% of the websites assessed in actually had the greatest growth in digital content is becoming increasinglythis year’s report have embraced social engagement: our figures show it grew 75% ubiquitous. We consume all sorts of content,media, showing us that social media is now in terms of how we measure engagement, on various devices, wrapped in and aroundthe rule, not the exception. Social networks potentially highlighting a greater desire to our lives. We expect to see an increasingsuch as Facebook have captured the hearts interact with its constituency and/or utilise number of quality applications that do a fewand minds of New Zealanders, and New online channels to reduce operational costs. things really well. But the fundamentalZealand organisations are following suit. The Health & Medicine sector, surprisingly, tenets of engagement will still apply: makeAnd where, in the recent past, organisations we believe, was the only sector that showed it professional, relevant, timely, accessible,might have looked to build their own a reduced level of engagement. We found usable and interesting.stand-alone community solution, now they’re this surprising given the many opportunitiesembracing existing social network platforms It’s not getting any easier – but those that there are to liaise with an interestedfor their own ends instead. rise to the challenge and remain restless will community, although there could also beIt was interesting to note, on the other regulatory considerations that come into survive, and those that think they are ‘done’hand, that blogging for business appears to play here. are in trouble. SHOPPING & CL ASSIFIEDS BANKING & FINANCE HEALTH & MEDICINE FOOD & BEVERAGES ENTERTAINMENT NEWS & MEDIA GOVERNMENTAUTOMOTIVE EDUC ATION LIFEST YLE 51% 61% 45% 71% 48% 57% 67% 72% 48% 53% 27% 47% 51% 45% 42% 57% 53% 82% 51% 78% 2011 2012 The chart above shows the overall performance of each sector, comparing 2011 to 2012. BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012 7
  7. 7. Online Communitiesand Social MediaWith more than a million New Zealanders on Facebook, and in excess of 400,000 using LinkedIn, social mediahas become a core part of how businesses communicate with their customers. The conversation has moved onfrom whether the organisation wants to use social media to which channels are most effective and how thebusiness can use them in new and different ways to stand out from the crowd.Like any other form of communication, it’s Half of the websites assessed scored overabout delivering the right message, to the 75% for social media and onlineright people, at the right time. The key word communities with nine sites scoring 100%.is engagement and social media provides These sites use a wide range of social mediareal-time feedback on whether your channels and actively grow theircompany is getting it right. Of course, part communities by sharing relevant informationof tailoring your communication to your on a regular basis, engaging their followerscustomers is making sure that you’re with interesting content and activelyadopting the right tone of voice and initiating and participating in discussions.interacting in a way that resonates with your Of the websites that had an onlineaudience. As a channel, social media will be 45% community, nearly all (98%) regularlymore appropriate for some organisations uploaded content, up from 83% last year,than others, and you will need to consider and 80% asked questions or ran surveyswhich social media vehicles – if any – suit (72% in 2011). Organisations are beginningthe purposes of your organisation, rather to understand that social media channelsthan adopt a blanket approach to social 45% OF New Zealand INTERNET require a different type of communication tomedia. USERS VISIT SOCIAL NETWORKING traditional channels, such as the company SITES WEEKLY, 28% DAILY. website or newsletter. They are moving awayResults Overview from providing an ongoing stream of news about products and services – aLast year 73% of the 50 organisations company-centric focus – to offering morestudied featured a community on their engaging updates with an entertainmentwebsite, and this year that figure has risen factor. Whether these are competitions,to 90%. Facebook and Twitter remain the interesting news articles, funny or inspiringmost common platforms for creating a photos or a simple ‘how was your longcommunity, although a small number of weekend?’ people are joining theorganisations choose to maintain their own conversation and sharing content withonline forum or message boards. friends.The sectors that stood out as excellent when Businesses are recognising that they need toit came to the use of online communities embrace social media. It’s not aboutand social media were Shopping & jumping on the latest social mediaClassifieds, News & Media, Banking & bandwagon; it’s about considering eachFinance, and Education. medium strategically and finding a way to make it work for their company or risk getting left behind. Twitter usage jumped from 55% last year to 70% this year, and Facebook presence grew from 61% to 76%. Of the sites assessed, 34% included links to another social media channel such as YouTube, LinkedIn or Flickr. Increasingly, organisations are recognising the benefits of allowing people to share 9/10 content via social media (2012: 62%; 2011: 42%), although there is still some hesitation around allowing people to rate and tag content (2012: 24%; 2011: 12%). OF NEW ZEALAND’S MOST TRAFFICKED SITES FEATURED A COMMUNITY.8 BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012
  8. 8. Air New Zealand does a fantastic job of engaging with their customers, no matter where they are.BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012 9
  9. 9. It’s easy to gauge whether the communities The rapidly changing worldyou’ve created are working for you. If they of social mediaare growing, and you are receivingcomments or interaction from followers, Five years ago many people were stillyou’re likely doing the right thing. But don’t figuring out whether they wanted to acceptexpect everyone to talk to you. Even if an invitation to this thing called Facebook,people join your community or follow you and marketing professionals startedon Facebook or Twitter, they are less likely to considering the potential for communicatinginteract with you than with their friends. through this new channel. Initially there wasJust because they don’t comment on or like debate over whether it was just a fad oryour posts, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t something that would change the way weseeing your messages or don’t feel part of do business, but time has shown that socialthe community. media has very much become a part of 1/3 our lives. The term ‘social media strategy’ may soundWho’s doing it well? like corporate jargon, but whatever you callAir New Zealand is one of the best it, your organisation does need to thinkpractitioners of community building through about social media from a strategic New Zealand SOCIALthe use of social media. perspective. For example, it was interesting to NETWORK SITE MEMBERSHIP note that some organisations advertise that IS UP BY A THIRD SINCE 2009They have always sought to provide an their Twitter feed is only supported during TO 64% OF INTERNET USERSintegrated experience for their customers office hours. Others, particularly news and (ALMOST ALL ON FACEBOOK).– online or offline – and their digital media outlets, choose to maintain theirexecution ensures a consistent experience. objectivity by not participating in theUsers can interact with Air New Zealand via conversations that their news posts generateany number of social channels and this only online. It’s not about whether theseserves to spread and grow the airline’s approaches are right or wrong, it’s aboutdigital footprint. what’s right for your organisation. Air New Zealand regularly innovates, now allowing customers to book flights via Facebook.10 BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012
  10. 10. Here are some tips: 1. Develop a policy Make sure everyone is clear who maintains social media channels, how negative comments are dealt with, has guidelines for taking part in conversations, understands the desired tone and how social media integrates with your other communication channels. 2. Tell people You wouldn’t dream of leaving your company’s contact details off the website. Advertise your social media sites and make it easy to join. It’s amazing how many brands hide their social channels. 3. It’s a conversation Create a dialogue. Ask questions and reply to comments. Be As the web becomes increasingly distributed, organisations need to carefully consider the genuinely interested in each unique needs of each platform, while still accurately reflecting their brand. member of the community. 4. Good customer service Recognise that social media is aSocial media ROI and very public customer servicemeasuring sentiment channel. Getting the right people to deal with complaints quicklyAn area that continues to grow is social and efficiently both online andmedia analytics. Measuring the impact of offline will go a long way tocommunications and mapping the return on protecting your brand.investment (ROI) is now fundamental formany companies, and increasingly we are 5. One size doesn’t fit allseeing tools that quantify and track social Tailor content for the channel andmedia engagement. Facebook provides the audience. Don’t always put theinsights into followers and their interactions, same post on your blog, FacebookKlout.com promises to discover your page and Twitter feed – the same 96%influence and compare it with others, and a customer might follow all of themnumber of more sophisticated products are and they’ll quickly get bored.making their way into organisations, and arebecoming key success metrics at the 6. Choose your voiceexecutive level. 64% OF New Zealand Is your tone corporate or personal? INTERNET USERS BELONG TO Are posts anonymous or do youThere’s no disputing that most organisations identify the person or people A SOCIAL NETWORK SITE; OFnow have some sort of social media customers are talking to? Have a THOSE, 96% SAY THEY USEpresence, but not all of them are engaging clear, consistent point of view and FACEBOOK THE MOST.their followers, and this is where there is stick to it.room for improvement. 7. Do it well It’s better to focus on one or two social media channels and be exceptional, than to spread yourself too thinly. BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012 11
  11. 11. MultimediaContentMany people spend a large part of Results Overview less multimedia content than they did intheir working day in front of a 2011. The fact remains that New Zealand’s While almost all websites assessed included broadband coverage is limited and falls wellscreen and much of their leisure some rich media content, the use of behind international broadband standards, multimedia really varied between sites.time online. Multimedia content and this is most likely a contributor to New However, almost half of the organisationsmakes your site interesting and Zealand organisations’ hesitation to rely too reviewed scored over 75% for multimedia heavily on or experiment too greatly withengaging, and presenting content showing that they are really multimedia content. thinking about different ways to engageinformation via ways other than their web audience. Still, 18% of websites It is expected that the government’stext can make it easier to digest scored 10 out of 15 or less in this area, Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) and Ruraland understand. leaving room for improvement when it Broadband Initiative (RBI) will go some way comes to providing their audience with to improving this situation – and with it theAlthough producing multimedia a variety of rich and interactive ability for multimedia content to be widelycontent can be costly and require experiences online. accessed – in the next few years.specialist resources, incorporating The News & Media and Entertainment Communicating a large amount of diverse sectors scored particularly well at above information on the web remains a challengeit into your website can add 80% for multimedia. Given the amount of for many organisations who still share largetremendous value to the user video and photographic content this type of chunks of text for the reader to delve intoexperience, giving users alternative organisation produces in their day-to-day and decipher. Organisations need to take a business, this finding is not surprising. step back and look for new and interestingways of interacting with However, a number of organisations across ways to convey their message to make itinformation, while giving all of the other sectors stood out as easy for users to come away from the siteorganisations new opportunities to exceptional in their use of a wide range of with the information they need. interactive content.attract and inform their audience. A number of the sites assessed used It’s interesting to note that, overall, New multimedia well in certain areas of the site, Zealand’s 50 most trafficked websites used but completely lacked any multimedia content in others. There is room to think about peppering video and multimedia content across other parts of the site to create more consistent engagement. New Zealand’s most visited sites used less multimedia content in 2012 than they did in 2011. MetService uses a growing range of media types, content and channels to share information.12 BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012
  12. 12. The number of New Zealand households able to access a broadband connection is expected to reach over 1.3 million by 2015 (just over a quarter of New Zealand’s current population).Who’s doing it well?MetService engages its website visitorswith a wide range of multimedia content.Interactive weather maps, scrollableday-by-day forecasts, three-hourly movingrain maps and satellite imagery helppeople to understand and interpret theweather forecast.MetService TV offers a weekly roundup ofthe weekend’s weather forecast, deliveredin a traditional news-style video deliveredby the MetService weather reporter.Each week visitors are encouraged tosubmit their weather photographs to viefor photo of the week, and these aredisplayed in a gallery of spectacular Like an increasing number of organisations,weather images from around MetService continues to tweak and enhance itsNew Zealand. online experience – adding new interactive features and functions that allow users to goFor those trying to make their way by deeper into high-value content areas.road, an interactive map displays imagesfrom traffic cams across five of thecountry’s main cities. BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012 13
  13. 13. PersonalisationWhat is personalisation? In short, personalisation is about tailoring your site to the person who is visiting.Why are they visiting today? What content are they most interested in? What’s relevant to them? And howdo they want to view the information?It’s common for organisations to offer some personalisation, allowing their customer toform of log in and greet their visitors by choose what information they most want toname when they sign in. It’s less common receive or even how they would like the sitefor companies to deliver a customised to be presented on screen.experience to each user based on their The sectors that scored best when it comesinterests, location and preferences. This to personalisation include Lifestyle,can be for a number of reasons: Shopping & Classifieds, and Entertainment,Cost: Making a unique experience for every with visitors signing in to make purchases oruser can be very expensive to do. It can interact with other members.require a lot effort from a design anddevelopment perspective to make sure thatthe site can be personalised without itbreaking.ROI: In addition, some ‘personalisedexperiences’ are hard to justify from a ROIpoint of view. This is especially true wherethe personalisation is based on a customer’sprofile that is not accurately defined tobegin with.Logic: Personalisation is a feature oraspiration of a website that is often talkedabout, and yet the execution can be poor.This can be because it’s hard to know howall the permutations and combinations willactually display themselves on screen.Results OverviewThe 2012 analysis showed that the samenumber of websites offered some form ofpersonalisation on their site as in 2011, with86% giving visitors the option to sign in orchoose targeted content. Yet the results alsoshowed that these websites are doing morewith personalisation than they were 12months ago.While this is a positive finding, we noticedthat often signing in is about enabling thevisitor to transact or buy online, rather thanabout creating a personalised experience for Trade Me’s standard of personalisation remains high – yet this is notthem. Only a handful of sites offered true at the expense of a clean, uncluttered interface.14 BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012
  14. 14. Who’s doing it well?Most good e-commerce sites provide ahigh-level of personalisation based onyour login credentials and willpersonalise the online experience basedon your unique preferences and history.Fishpond is one of New Zealand’sleading online retailers and provides agood example of a personalisedshopping experience. 86% of websites measured Fishpond personalises your online experience once you’re logged in. personalise the user experience, giving visitors the option to sign in or choose targeted content. BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012 15
  15. 15. StickyContentSticky content is a key component of the engagement puzzle, and it’s an area that’s very hard to definebecause it remains incredibly subjective. That said, for the purposes of this study, we’ve defined stickycontent as: content that holds a visitor’s attention longer than anticipated, resulting in visitors spendinglonger time periods on a website and encouraging them to return to the site.Think of it as a logical and relevant Results Overviewextension of the content that you already Around three quarters of websites had somehave on offer. Could your existing content form of sticky content. News & Media sitesbe augmented and enhanced with the scored the highest, with each site analysedaddition of news feeds/social media feeds, achieving 100%. Of the sites surveyed, 18quizzes and polls, competitions, calculators, scored 100% for providing content thatexpert opinions, online seminars from guest keeps their users engaged.speakers or subject matter experts, or otherequally compelling content? If you’re not Often providing multimedia content such asproviding sticky content that draws users videos makes a site more engaging anddeeper into your site and makes them want encourages people to stay. Sticky sitesto stay longer or return later, you’re going to include an array of content like real-timelose them to a competitor. news, social media feeds, quizzes and polls, competitions, tutorials and testmonials,Users expect more interaction online to keep discussions and debates, business resourcesthem engaged, and sticky content is a and tools, and lifestyle content such aspleasant distraction that demonstrates a weather updates or guest contributors.depth of expertise, and an amount ofcredible content that goes above andbeyond what is expected. A clear benefit toyou is that customers spend longer on yoursite and discover things they may not havecome to find, but are pleased they did. Theimpression you should create with your usersis that your site/app is actually a trustedand ‘go-to’ destination of expertise – if youinvest in your content, your users will cometo expect and embrace change. They willknow that your site will constantly evolve,adapt and grow; and your reputation willbecome increasingly trusted. 85 artworks from Auckland Art Gallery’s collection are viewable on the Google Art Project website. The quality of presentation, level of detail and interaction design makes the experience incredibly compelling and ‘sticky’.16 BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012
  16. 16. Who’s doing it well?TV3 provides a range of sticky contenton its site, such as news feeds, the latestweather and the evening’s schedule,which helps to create a more engagingexperience for visitors.TV3 essentially builds a microsite withinits website around each of the featuredshows and fans can spend time exploringmore about their favourite programme.Visitors get drawn in with OnDemandepisodes, previous plot information,quizzes on current shows, cast profiles,photo galleries, message boards,upcoming episode summaries and linksto additional content via social media.In creating this sticky content, TV3 goesabove and beyond the expected with awell-executed, logical and creativeextension of relevant content. Major media brands build experiences around their core content – TV shows, for example – and extend user engagement as far as possible. BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012 17
  17. 17. BloggingA few years ago business blogging was the latest ‘next big thing’ but the initial levels of enthusiasmseem to have waned recently. Organisations are increasingly building their communities aroundother social media channels, and the blog appears to be losing favour. Conversely, in the personal sphere, blogging is enjoying exponential growth, as evidenced in the growing popularity of blog tools such as Tumblr. Many organisations have recognised that keeping a blog going requires the inspiration to regularly come up with new ideas and viewpoints and the time and skill to write engaging posts. Customers still enjoy reading a well-constructed blog entry, so don’t discount blogging as an important part of the communication mix and a way of attracting repeat visits to your website. X3 TUMBLR.com NEARLY TRIPLED ITS UNIQUE US AUDIENCE OVER THE LAST YEAR. Successful New Zealand blog, ReadWriteWeb (RWW), founded by Richard MacManus, proves there’s no substitute for hard work.18 BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012
  18. 18. Results Overview Who’s doing it well?Blogging seems to be dropping in Blogging is hard work. In 2011, one of Newpopularity with only 30% of sites featuring Zealand’s hardest working tech blogs wasa blog compared to 54% last year. Many acquired by a major US organisation.organisations are choosing to focus on Started in 2003, the ReadWriteWeb (RWW) Is blogging for businessbuilding communities through other social blog was and still is a testament to the yesterday’s news?channels like Facebook and Twitter. effort of its founder and contributors. Only 30% of the sitesBlogging still has a valid place as a Likewise, Public Address – which is a analysed featured astrategic communication channel. A blog community of blogs – is another great local blog (down from 54%can be less formal and more conversational example. Again, the team at Public Address last year).than some of the more traditional news have demonstrated there’s no substitute forchannels, but at the same time offers a quality and having a collective of greatplatform that is a step up from other social writers who continue to producemedia due to depth and coverage with well-written, well-researched, frequent andsubject matter expertise. A blog post can topical content.present the company viewpoint in awell-written and longer form than a typicalsocial media status update, which shouldprovide a level of credibility and adds toyour organisation’s brand. Thethought-leadership, opinion-led style of ablog post also encourages a deeper level ofdiscussion and commentary.Where organisations are choosing to blog,they appear to be doing it well, with 93%of companies with a blog updating itregularly and 87% of them ensuring thattheir blog is clearly advertised on thewebsite to encourage readers to visit.Almost all News & Media sections featureda blog and the Automotive, Education,Lifestyle, and Shopping & Classifiedssections also performed well. Another excellent New Zealand website, Public Address, presents a community of blogs and a aconsistently high standard of writing. BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012 19
  19. 19. Mobility People want content and the ability to take action wherever they are on a variety of devices from smartphones to tablets. They want information, transactions, entertainment and personal connections, and they want it on the go. At the most basic level, this means that organisations need to ensure that their website can be comfortably viewed and navigated on multiple devices from the smallest of screens to the biggest. More forward-thinking companies are developing specialised applications to make interacting with them via mobile device a great customer experience. In particular, News & Media organisations, Shopping and Entertainment brands, and, Designing for mobile more recently, financial institutions, have »» Quicker interaction been leading the charge. They are tailoring content for time-poor, on-the-go customers. »» Task-based behaviour And they are providing value-added features »» Users even less tolerant of bad design such as location-based services, for example »» Design for interrupted (on-the-go) browsing highlighting where the nearest store is or »» Make the interface simple (for touch-based interaction) making recommendations on things to do based on where the users are at the time. »» Offer location-based services where relevant Results Overview Of the websites assessed, 62% made some attempt to provide a user-friendly experience on mobile devices. This ranged from sites that were optimised for viewing on a small screen, to sites where the most popular site content was selected for display on mobile, depending on what a mobile user is most likely to be looking for, through to organisations that have developed a range of specialised mobile applications available for download. The sectors that rated more highly for The explosion in mobile content consumption will engaging mobile experiences were: News &continue to increase dramatically in the years ahead. Media, Banking & Finance, followed by Source: Zero Shopping & Classifieds, Entertainment and Automotive. Where companies have developed mobile applications, the vast majority have focused on Apple iPhone and iPad users with fewer applications being developed for platforms 27% such as Android or Windows Phone. As the concept of ‘online everywhere’ becomes the reality for more people, there is an opportunity to consider how your website is presenting on mobile devices and to OF NZ INTERNET USERS ACCESS invest in custom-built mobile applications THE INTERNET VIA THEIR SMARTPHONES across all platforms that make it easier for (UP FROM 18% IN 2009 AND 7% IN 2007). your customers to engage with you. It’s important to consider that it’s not simply about (re)creating a cut-down version of your ‘website on mobile’ but creating a ‘unique experience on a device.’ 20 BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012
  20. 20. Who’s doing it well?Westpac offers its customers the chance to dotheir banking when they are out and about onits mobile-optimised website. Customers cancheck their account balances, transfer moneybetween accounts and view account activityand upcoming payments.The bank has also developed threeapplications that can be downloaded tomobile. Cash Tank (iPhone and Android) letsyou check the balance of your accountanytime at the touch of a button. ImpulseSaver (iPhone) lets you save a pre-selectedamount from your transaction account to yoursavings account. And with Real Estate foriPhone (developed in conjunction withrealestate.co.nz) you can view properties forsale in your area, to see which are havingopen homes while you’re on the road, rank thefeatures of the properties you view and addnotes or photos to the listing. The Banking & Finance sector was a big mover in this year’s report. Many institutions have relaunched their public sites and a range of mobile apps in the past 12-18 months.Mobility, mobility, mobilityWhile it’s obvious that the mobile experience isnot new, the golden opportunity lies in extendingyour web presence to engage customers nomatter where they are and what device they are Here are some key considerations:accessing your brand from. Customers expectthat they will be able to view your website from 1. know which devices your customers usea smartphone or tablet, but many organisations People use a number of devices. Many companies only focus on appsaren’t even providing the basic hygiene factor for smartphones. Don’t alienate your customers by excluding them.which allows their website to be viewed acrossplatforms within a mobile browser. 2. Be useful, Be creative There is a lot of choice when it comes to apps. If your app is not reallyWhat’s more, we found that even wheremobile-specific versions of a site existed, this was useful, there’s not much incentive to download it.not always the default option displayed, and the 3. Be selectivemobile-friendly version of the site, where Your mobile site doesn’t need to have all the features and functionalityavailable, required manual intervention (to select of your company website. In fact, to be easy to use, it probablyto view the mobile version of the site). However, shouldn’t. Figure out what’s most important to on-the-go customers.this can also (depending on your smartphonedevice) be a preference in the browser settings of 4. Remember it’s mobilea mobile device. Integrate with the in-built smartphone or tablet features of each device.But using mobility to your advantage is about so How can you use location-based services? How can you create an appmuch more than just developing a mobile version that uses the device’s camera? Not for the sake of it, but to add value.of your website. Mobile applications open up a 5. Don’t forget the basicsworld of possibility for new ways to engage your Mobile sites should still be well branded and easy to navigate.customers by providing services that make their Designing for mobile is more challenging. Find a way to make it worklife easier when they are out and about. It’s for each platform.about putting yourself in your customer’s shoesand identifying what their needs are on-the-go so 6. Listen to feedbackyou can develop a customised tool that fits in Many of the mobile app marketplaces offer users the chance to reviewtheir pocket. Applications offer the opportunity your app. Check in and see what your users are saying. Have youto focus on ‘high-value, high-demand’ tasks and factored these considerations into the next release of your software?provide an experience that does a few thingsexceptionally well. BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012 21
  21. 21. The BasicsWith so much focus and attention on the next big thing (mobile, social, location, apps, augmented reality etc), it’seasy to forget the basics. While the basics of making sure your site is easy to use with clear navigation are nowhygiene factors, if you get them wrong your visitors will notice and this will be reflected in their level of engagement.You’ll soon find that your customers will be going elsewhere.There is an opportunity for organisations to It’s generally quite easy to add more andtake a stronger lead on helping people to more content to your website – and addingnavigate their website. All too often, a new features and functions to anplethora of navigation bars and menus are application can also be relativelyprovided for the user to sift through. Smart straightforward. However, manycompanies are considering what information organisations forget to ask basic questionsthey most want their customers to access like: What can we take out? What contentand presenting it in the most elegant, clear can be retired? How can we simplify thisand concise way. Plus, they continue to process? Is this still relevant? These arereview and improve the experience – they questions you need to ask yourself on anare not content to consider that their ongoing basis. Challenge yourself to removewebsite is ‘finished.’ superfluous content and tasks, and if you’re not sure, run sessions with key users groups – they won’t tell what you want to hear, they’ll tell what you need to hear. Large websites with lots of content, multiple audiences and product offerings (such as the AA) are doing well when they still provide a clear and simple user interface.22 BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012
  22. 22. White space is not something that needs to be ‘filled up’ with content. Give your content room to breathe, and your users time to think. The New Zealand International Arts Festival website is a great example.Results Overview Who’s doing it well?Most websites are getting the basics right. The AA delivers a lot of content to visitors Each page offers a very short introductoryThey are easy to use, with clear and under a range of different topics but still paragraph at the top, and visitors can scrollconsistent navigation. manages to make it easy for visitors to down and click through to find the pinpoint what they’re after. information they are after. Overall, the site isThree in four websites assessed scored 80% fresh, uncluttered and easy to use.or above on the basics and many scored The site navigation is very clear with a100% in this section. global navigation bar and a scrolling The website presents a lot of information navigation selector at the footer of each and it is elegantly executed. What’s more,Sectors that came out tops include Shopping the overall user experience doesn’t degrade page with relevant imagery to help guide& Classifieds and News & Media with several as you drill down through the site – from top user interaction. Each navigation menu hasother sectors also scoring well. to bottom and end to end, the standard is a ‘Hot picks’ section, that highlights theMany websites in this study contain a most important content. Pointers, such as generally high.significant amount of content relevant to a the ‘In this section’ menu, are provided aswide variety of visitors with different needs you explore the site to help with navigation.and interests. However, most organisations we Navigation items that require andanalysed have carefully considered their site encourage you to take action are clear andnavigation and layout to make sure that consistently designed.regardless of where visitors arrive on theirwebsite they know where to go and can easilypinpoint the information they are after. BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012 23
  23. 23. DesignAs soon as people arrive at your site (remembering that many users will come in below the homepage due tovarying search engine results), your site’s design makes an instant impression. An attractive, professional andwell-designed site reinforces your organisation’s brand and adds credibility to the information you provide. Highquality design is not an option – it should be mandatory.Even if you have limited resources at your disposal, remember that if your site’s design is cluttered,unprofessional and unintuitive, your visitors will leave and probably won’t return. Even at the most basic level,you should ensure that your design provides a consistent experience, your layouts are clear and easy to follow,and that every small detail looks polished.Results Overview Who’s doing it well?Less than half of the websites assessed (23) How do you make accounting softwarescored over 80% for design, with only four beautiful and a pleasure to use? Xero isscoring 100% in this section. one of the stand-outs of the New Zealand web scene, a successful exporter and aWhile there is merit in keeping a web format consistently great example of how to dothat users intuitively understand with things well. They have focused on thetraditional navigation tabs and panels and quality of their design coupled with aninformation where they expect to find it, engaging user experience from day one,very few organisations innovate when it and their business continues to thrive.comes to web design. A strong design canhelp your website to stand out above itscompetitors and leave a lasting brandimpression on your customers. The provisohere is to make sure that your designdecisions are appropriate for your users andyour sector. For example, if you are an onlinegaming portal and your user base expectsrich media, animation, interaction and video– then your design should reflect this.Once again, it’s vital that the socialexperience is connected to your overallbrand. In some cases, brands are investingmore heavily in social channels and mobileapps above and beyond the ‘Mothership’website. This is because this is where theiraudience is. Even simple details like ensuringyour Twitter background has been designedto reflect who you are can show howseriously you treat design. Xero’s commitment to world-class design from day one makes their website a pleasure to use.24 BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012
  24. 24. The standard of digital design in New Zealand is high as evidenced by two recent Best Design Awards Winners, Icebreaker (above) and Powershop (below).BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012 25
  25. 25. ConclusionAt stated in our Methodology, measuring for engagement is a subjective challenge. That said, based on thecriteria used, and the most trafficked sites across the same ten sectors as last year, we have seen an overallimprovement in the way brands and organisations are engaging with their audiences – and indeed,facilitating engagement between visitors.The only sector that did not perform better Attend conferences and seminars Step away from the noisein 2012 than in the previous report was It sounds obvious, but we all need to step It’s easy to get lost in the sea of hysteriaHealth & Medicine, although the drop was back from our day-to-day projects and around digital proliferation. Many of usnot dramatic. And it was not surprising to refresh ourselves by listening to others and would do well to actually simplify our livesnote that those sectors that provide a lot of hearing from people who have had similar and our projects by doing fewer things,rich media, video, high interaction, deep experiences. The annual conference better. Look at the next 10 features orcontent, social engagement and solid Webstock is a great place to start if you’ve functions that you are adding to your site ormobile support, lead the way. The ‘most never been before and is generally regarded app – what’s wrong with doing the firstimproved’ sector was Banking & Finance as a world-class event with an eclectic three first? Try and get into a cycle where(moving up from 4th to 8th). Again, this was line-up of speakers and hands-on workshops. you can release updates in an ongoingnot surprising, as many financial services manner – big projects are hard to do well.providers really delivered in the past year – Be user-centered and business-driven Do less, and focus on the things that matter.especially in the level of sophistication in Yes, it’s important to provide a user-centredhow they are using mobile to engage with experience – but this has to be tempered Apps, apps, and appstheir customers. with reality and the specific goals and Despite everything above, it’s hard get away objectives of your organisation or business. from the fact that the number of Your users may demand something that has applications (especially on mobile devices)How to engage? no relevance to your brand, it may be costly will only continue to grow. The on-deviceWhere do I start? to create, or it may simply offer no real ROI mobile experience is so different to the ‘old (now, or in the future). So, listen to your ways’ of desktop/laptop browsing that youBased on some of the trends and themes users – engage with them regularly on a need to treat it as such.that emerged in this report, here are simple face-to-face level – but you still need to bethings you can do to help make your online It’s not easy – get used to it clear about who you are and what yourexperience more engaging. The business of the web, applications, social reason for being online is all about. media and the continued explosion ofFollow your peers Your brand is only as relevant devices and form factors is making life hardKeep a close eye on what’s happening in as your next post for those in the business of creating theyour sector. New software, services, tools Stale content is poison. Inappropriate engaged web. Especially in New Zealand,and devices are being released constantly. content, no matter how small or innocuous, where, typically, many organisations haveYou don’t always have to reinvent the wheel, can undo years of hard work in minutes. You limited resources yet their users will continueand if you’re actually a user of related need to make sure that people at the to expect an experience on a par with majorproducts and services, you’ll start to get a coal-face of your social channels actually online brands such as Facebook, Amazon,feel for what works and what doesn’t – and understand your organisation and are Google and so on. This is just reality. If youyou’ll start to understand where empowered to respond and interact on your can’t do it all, you need to focus on whatcommunities of interest want to head next. behalf. If you’re not prepared to properly provides the greatest value for your business, resource, support and train the people who and your users. are your social experience, are you actually doing more harm than good?26 BENCHMARK REPORT | THE ENGAGED WEB IN NEW ZEALAND | 2012