Golden boot winners of the Digital World Cup

Football online betting

Author: Marie Sheehan

As part of our ongoing programme of studies into the online effectiveness of UK sports betting providers we ran our Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE) benchmark during the World Cup.

UK bookmakers were expecting to take as much £3 billion in action during the World Cup and we felt there was no better time to analyse online purchasing behaviour and track sports betting customers online.

Customer purchasing journey scoreboard

The study researches ‘in market’ sports betting online consumers using our unique methodology which has 500+ data points in 63 metrics per company being benchmarked.

As part of our programme we have scored how each sports betting provider performs at each stage of the online consideration and purchase journey. The scores listed below are calculated using a series of tasks, questions and best practice criterion at each stage of the customer journey. All scores are weighted according to our industry and consumer research based on the importance of site elements during the journey to customers to support decision-making.

Golden boot – top scorers per stage


“Initial Engagement” Golden Boot: William Hill with 68%

Evaluates: the customer’s first impressions of the website and the company brand

Measures: fundamental site elements like navigation, privacy, building trust and value proposition

“Introducing Options” Golden Boot: Coral with 63%

Evaluates: the customer’s ability to locate product or service options on the website

Measures: how easily customers can find all options and detailed information associated with the product or service such as fees, rates, inclusions or terms and conditions

“Facilitating Decisions” Golden Boot: Bet Fred with 58%

Evaluates: the company’s ability to assist customers in the final stages of their decision making process Measures: how easy a company makes it for customers to get answers to important questions

“Channel Selection” Golden Boot: Sky Bet 59%

Audits: the website’s ability to convey the options available to customers in order to place a bet

Measures: how well your website introduces both online and offline options for the customer

“Placing a Bet” Golden Boot: Coral 58%

Evaluates: how the website manages the beginning of a customer’s purchase process

Measures: best practice elements for a shopping cart type interface, including supporting content required before a customer places a bet

“Registration” Golden Boot: William Hill 72%

Evaluates: how the website manages the customer experience prior to purchase/placing a bet

Measures: best practice form elements and expectation management during the process such as error handling, process indication and both online and offline support

Full time analyses

The key to growing online sales is about understanding the (lost) opportunities, getting to know what you don’t know, and finding out what you can do differently. The Global Reviews Digital Sales Effectiveness programme delivers the evidence-based insights and advice to better manage and improve customer experience and digital business outcomes.

A word from our pundit: “Do not try to fix what is not broken. Understand your journey through the consumers’ eyes and target the stages of the customer journey that are under performing.”

Our pundit, Liam O’Callaghan is available for comment on + 44 (0) 203 725 8262

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How are Sports Betting mobile sites performing?

Soccer Phone

Author: Marie Sheehan

The first mobile site study
In Q1, 2014 we conducted the first Mobile Sales Effectiveness (MSE) Study into sports betting websites in the UK.
The sports betting mobile sites reviewed were: Ladbrokes, William Hill, PaddyPower, SkyBet, BetVictor, Sportingbet, BetFred, Coral, 888, Bet365 and Betfair.

Small points difference in MSE Scores, UK Sports Betting Brands Q1 2014
In this study, Global Reviews’ mobile web effectiveness benchmark for Sports Betting providers delivered an overall industry average of 54%, with a small variance between scores; the highest score being 55.9%, attained by SkyBet followed closely by Ladbrokes with a score of 55.7% and BetVictor with 55.6% The lowest scoring site – Betfair – achieved a score of 48.5%.


These scores are calculated from four key tests; a set of practical tasks, an attitudinal survey and an audit of the site’s features – all done by prospective customers – as well as a best practice audit by experts, consisting of over 350 separate criteria.

Measuring the online purchasing journey – from first visit to the mobile site
The sports betting MSE benchmarks are made up of six phases which follow the customers’ journey from ‘Initial engagement’ – their first encounter with the website – through researching and choosing a bet to place through to filling in the registration form online.

In Q1 2014, UK sports betting brands did best at the ’Registration’ stage (scoring an average of 63%). The industry scored lowest for the ‘Channel selection‘ (20%) stage, with no brand scoring higher than 28%

‘Why choose you?’
In an intensively competitive market such as sports betting, bettors need full encouragement through the last step of their betting decision through the provision of external comparisons, access to FAQ, contact details and decision support through ‘why choose us?’ content.

Key pain points in the customer journey:

  • Few brands attempt to differentiate their services
  • Sites make contact details and help hard to find

‘Why register and bet through a mobile site?’
The ‘Act’ phase of the MSE study looks at how well the sports betting mobile sites explain their channel options for placing a bet, as well as how effectively the site encourage to users to complete their bet online.

Key pain points in the customer journey:

  • Mobile channels are poorly promoted
  • Registration requires more support

‘How easy is it to place a bet?’
When users find a bet they like, they then need to figure out how to place it – something not made as simple as it should be.

Key pain points in the customer journey:

  • Bet slips need more help and support
  • Users need to be reassured on safety and security

Although many sports betting providers perform well in some areas of the customer journey, most notably the registration forms, with an average score of just 54% none are providing the necessary consistently positive experience throughout the site from homepage through to registration and betting.

Most mobile sites fail to adequately signpost users to contextual help and support, as well as failing to show why potential bettors should select their brand above others. Sports betting sites, like brands in many other markets, also fail to encourage users to apply through the mobile site, and fail to adequately promote the ease and speed of registration.

White paper
Download the white paper on this study

Upcoming study
Our next study into the mobile web performance of sports betting providers will take place in September. To be included in this study or to find out more, please contact Liam O’Callaghan 0203 7258262

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KISS your website

KISS computer

Author: Marie Sheehan

Companies are losing one in five customers online by over-complicating their websites.

Ok, so it’s not “kiss” as in the lip smacker display of affection…

…..It’s KISS as in “Keep It Simple Silly”…

Our research*, which benchmarked 166 companies in the UK, found that 21% of customers would leave a website immediately to find another provider if they encountered a problem when shopping online.

Encountering a problem on a website

A third of customers find that they have to put in more effort than expected
The studies also revealed that on average 32% of customers had to put in more effort than expected on a particular website to achieve their desired task. The energy industry scored lowest with a substantial 40% of customers finding websites required too much effort.


Digital customer experience
While innovations in website design continue to evolve, understanding what’s required to simplify the customer’s buying journey is often misunderstood. Companies need to know how easy – and how difficult – it is to buy from them online.

*Our ongoing international syndicated programmes provide companies with a totally unique insight into how effectively they engage customers online and help them match a product to service to meet their needs.

We provide companies with targeted, actionable insights to improve their digital customer experience curb website visitor attrition and improve digital sales. It’s not necessarily about how companies would like to sell online; it’s about how easy you make it for consumers to make a purchase decision. We see companies realising an immediate online sales uplift once they change their approach.

If you would like to know more, please contact me.

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Banks in competition as households pay an extra 7.5% for personal loans

Personal Loans blog image

Author: Suzy Coulson

The results of a recent survey conducted by the Reserve Bank of Australia on bank fees has revealed a 2.3% rise in the product fee income banks have received from households during 2013. Personal loans had the biggest fee income increase compared to all other banking products, going up by 7.5% from the previous two years. As we move closer to feeling the impact that the Government’s proposed budget plan is promising, we suspect households will be keeping a closer eye on their finances, including the interest rates they’re paying.

With this in mind, now is the time for banks to consider how they will capture and retain customers as they go on the hunt for the best personal loans deal.

In February 2014, we ran a study to assess the sales effectiveness of some of the bigger players in personal loans to see how they perform across the customer decision journey.

What we found was that relative to the sales journey of other major banking products, the journey for personal loans performs quite well. However, there are a couple of key stages where the journey falls a little short; ‘evaluating (product) options’ and ‘facilitating (customer) decisions’. If we consider the stages of a typical sales journey, then these are two key stages before people are likely to even want to ‘act’ on their decision.

Personal loans graphEvaluating loan options and making a decision on which loan to choose are likely to be key areas of focus for households now given the results of the RBA study and release of the new budget. Failing to adequately support customers through these stages could prove to be of great disadvantage to the banks as we continue to see alternative loan providers such as Cash Train and Nimble flooding our TV screens.

As part of being able to evaluate their loan options, customers will look for products offering specific features, such as low interest rates, of course.  They will also often rely on borrowing power calculators and loan repayment calculators to assist them with their decision making.

In the range of tasks we asked consumers to complete, the task of matching a product to the customer’s needs scored the lowest with an average success rate of 45%. This average was primarily brought down by Westpac (25%) and CBA (10%).

On a scale of importance from 1-10, consumers rated ‘having a tool to help select a loan based on personal needs’ as an 8.3 in importance and the ‘ability to easily view account features and benefits’ an 8.9 in importance. Given these high rankings of importance and low performing task success rates, brands need to pay close attention to how they are going about displaying their product options.

In addition to the low scoring task, the industry averaged just 45% for the category of ‘calculating options’. ANZ topped this list with 86% (89% for borrowing power calculator and 81% for loan repayment calculator), 30 points ahead of CBA who was in second place with 67% (60% for borrowing power calculator and 72% for loan repayment calculator). Citibank, who was in last place with 19%, and St George, who was second last with 21%, fell short in this area as they don’t provide borrowing power calculator for customers. Consumers rated online tools such as borrowing calculators 8.6 in importance, showing just how important it is that personal loan providers provide these elements on their website to support decision making.

If customers are unable to calculate how much they can borrow, they are likely to go elsewhere to find out!

With the interest rates on personal loans typically sitting at the same value regardless of the provider, brands need to not only sell their products, but also need to sell themselves. Where offers are near identical, brands need to sell themselves alongside their products to give customers a reason for picking them over their competitors. The industry overall fails here, with most companies neglecting to educate prospective customers on their value proposition. If the banks can’t tell consumers why they should be chosen, how can they expect these prospective customers to pick them over somebody else offering the same product?

As consumers begin to take more notice of their budgets, banks need to take more notice of their customer experience journey in order to keep consumers on side. If they can’t improve in aiding customer with evaluating their options and making a decision, then other loan providers become as worthy a competition as the banks themselves.

For more information about the Personal Loans Digitial Sales Effectiveness Study, download our free report or please contact:

Ché Carbis
Senior Commercial Director
T: +61 3 9982 3419
M: +61 411 962 857

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10 Ways to Improve Your Digital Customer Experience

10 Ways to Improve Your Digital Customer Experience

Authors: Rebecca Jennings & Marie Sheehan

We review and benchmark hundreds of websites around the world each year; using a combination of consumer insights, behavioural tracking and expert evaluation mapped to best practice customer decision journeys.

In the course of these analyses, it has become clear that there are some common pains in customer journeys across industries; errors that brands across industries such as energy, auto, home and travel insurance, financial services and sports betting make that cause pain to the customer, reducing the chances of a final purchase.

We’ve put together a list of the top ten ways to improve the digital customer journey; all relatively quick wins, in order to increase the chances of a consumer completing their consideration and purchase journey, and driving up conversions.

1. Think needs, not products
Focus on what users are trying to achieve not what you want them to buy
(I need a red apple. I never buy green ones)

2. Blow your own trumpet
Outline why users should choose you
(I need to be convinced I am making the right choice)

3. Show users you have products to suit their specific needs
Help users to choose the right option
(I’m not 100% sure I know what I want)

4. Enable easy internal comparison
Make it easy for users to compare your products
(How can I compare products?)

5. Enable easy external comparison
Make it easy for users to compare your products with your competitors’
(How can I compare these products with others I’ve seen?)

6. Integrate contextual help
Place multiple phone number & link to FAQ on home page
(I need help when I need help)

7. Support cross channel needs
Make it easy for customers to use multiple channels
(Can I buy this on my mobile?)

8. Promote the online channel
Outline the benefits of purchasing online
(Is this website secure?)

9. Set consumer expectations for the purchase
List what customer need to complete a purchase upfront
(How long is this going to take?)

10. Support the buy
Include on page support & info within purchase process
(Where can I find my customer account number?)

These ten tips are fairly straightforward, but surprisingly we often see how many of the basics get overlooked, which compromises not only the experience, but also limits sales growth.  When companies understand their customers decision journeys, and have this as the backbone to their digital execution, both online sales and the customer digital experience improve.


If you’d like to know more, please get in touch.

Marie Sheehan
Head of Marketing (Europe)


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Starting a savings account suffers from separate sales silos

Starting a Savings Account Suffers from Separate Sales Silos

Author: Jeremy Weinstein

It would seem strange that in the year 2014 businesses would count sales from different channels differently. I understand that a business needs to know where sales are coming from and as such need to track the efficacy of each channel, and I also understand that the cost of acquisition from the web site is likely to be less than that of the call centre – but what’s the cost of losing the sale altogether?

The most recent results from Global Review’s Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE) Benchmark, collected last month on the banking industry, showed that savings accounts are the worst at ‘Channel Selection’. This is the stage in the customer journey where, after careful consideration, a customer has finally decided to act on opening an account. At this point, the benchmark assesses how well a company reveals the various options available to apply – in the case of savings accounts the industry average is only 49%.

It appears that the different banks’ web teams have not done enough in revealing all the possible options to a customer interested in opening an account, scoring just 43% for ‘Revealing Options’. Moreover, banks’ web sites are 10% worse at explaining the offline options (46%) when compared to explaining the online options (56%). The good news is that the industry has improved slightly from 6 months ago when in explaining the offline options, with the industry average up 5%. But this is just the beginning, there’s still a long way to go.

Couple this data with the Digital Marketing Effectiveness (DME) Study, run in the same period, that showed 53% of customers still say they use the website for research but prefer to open an account over the phone or in a branch.

Comparing the Australian market to its UK counterpart actually makes the result look good scoring 36% for the ‘Channel Selection’ stage overall and 33%, 40% and 35% for revealing options, explaining offline options and explaining online options respectively. What’s even more surprising about the UK result is the lack of information about applying online when the customer is already in the online channel.

Looking at this situation optimistically, it’s possible that the poor ‘Channel Selection’ result is an anomaly, or perhaps just an oversight by banks that neglected to inform the different ways to open an account. Alternatively, it could be that the web team is competing with the call centre for sales – or the mobile team or the branches for that matter. No, it couldn’t be. Could it?! In the year 2014 banks (and other institutions) have surely matured beyond the early days of channel silos and realised that a sale, no matter how it comes, is still better than no sale at all. Surely?!

For more information about how to improve the channel selection experience, read more about our Digital Sales Effectiveness Benchmark or please contact:

Ché Carbis
Senior Commercial Director
T: +61 3 9982 3419
M: +61 411 962 857

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Double, triple or quadruple your sample size!

Main combine

Author: Paul Moorehead

As part of our release programme for the GR Portal we have introduced the function to combine study periods within our Digital Marketing Effectiveness research. Subscribers can now combine participants between study periods to increase the sample when filtering or diving deeper into insights. Based on a standard subscription, that will give you an annual sample of 800 in-market consumers per product!

When analysing data, considerations of sample size needs to be factored when adding multiple filters within the same query, to ensure margin of error is within an acceptable level for the decisions being made or insight provided. By combining study periods more advanced segmentation and deeper filtering becomes possible.

The study (period) selection has been adapted to allow the user to select the studies required to be combined via the left side panel (see below). By default the latest study is displayed and selected. Adding a study period will combine participants for all data viewed and allow demographic and question values to be filtered within the defined sample.


Of course, you still may require a bigger sample for each study period, especially if wanting to analyse monthly campaigns (online or offline) or the effects of competitor activity. We can cater for this against each individual study (monthly or quarterly) which will then provided a larger sample to analyse annual or bi-annual behaviours.

To increase sample sizes for individual studies or gain access to previous periods, please contact:

Ché Carbis
Senior Commercial Director
T: +61 3 9982 3419
M: +61 411 962 857

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Contemplating the Customer Experience Conundrum

Customer experience conundrum

There are many studies that ask the consumer about the importance of a good experience and unsurprisingly many consumers are all for it! And why not – if I had the choice between a good experience and a poor one, I know what I’d choose.

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Online mortgage applications are set to double, but are mortgage providers digital-ready?

Mortgages DSE results

Author: Marie Sheehan

According to research released this week from HSBC, the number of people who apply for a mortgage online is set to double from the nearly one in six homeowners who applied for their current mortgage online.

Not surprisingly over half of younger prospective homeowners aged 25-34 plan to apply for a mortgage online (compared to 19% of over 55s).

Mortgage providers are failing customers online

The findings of Global Reviews’ international mortgage providers digital sales effectiveness study* have just been published, and seems like a lot of home improvements need to be made.

Just two UK providers, Yorkshire Building Society and Nationwide, are currently meeting the needs of their customers on line.

All others are failing their digital customers.**

In fact as 33% is the industry average, all mortgage providers need some D(igitally) I(mprove) Y(ourself)

AIB is the best of the Irish mortgages providers with all others trailing much further behind.

Performance across the digital customer journey

As customers look to apply for a mortgage online move through the providers’ websites their experience deteriorates rapidly.

The digital customer experience starts off reasonably well as most mortgage providers successfully build trust with customers, introduce the product range and outline fees (while some are better at this than others).

However it all starts taking a downward turn at the evaluating options stage of the digital journey as most providers fail to adequately match their products to customer needs and few facilitate comparison.

customer journey

When it come to facilitating decisions, I don’t think it is any surprise that the banks are very poor at providing comparison with their competitors, but what I am surprised to see is that they are not very good at explain why a customer should choose them!

While all the mortgage providers are weak at revealing how customers can apply for a mortgage, only four banks provide the option to apply online.

Best performers across digital customer journey

best performers across journeyOnly two UK providers facilitate online applications

Only four banks from our study* enable customers to complete a full mortgage application online including Nationwide and Yorkshire Building Society in the UK while AIB is the only Irish bank to provide this facility.

However what is really interesting to note is that even though it quantity is small, the quality is high. They all score highly for the form itself and for the support that the banks give customers to enable them to apply online.

To arrange a call back or meeting to discuss this study in more detail, and find out more about the full scope of the research as well as the actionable insights Global Reviews deliver please contact us.

To register your interest for our free webinar on this study or to receive our free white paper, please contact us.

Read more about what we do 

*International Mortgage Providers Digital Sales Effectiveness study Q1 2014
Organisations included in the study:
UK: Barclays, Halifax, HSBC, Nationwide, RBS, Santander & Yorkshire Building Society
Ireland: AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank & EBS
USA: Bank of America (to benchmark against a global leader)

**From our 14 years of experience of collecting and analysing data on over 35,000 consumer interactions and over 500 companies each year, we know when a Digital Sales Effectiveness score  means that a company is failing the customer.


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How will UK mobile phone providers fair in comparison to their Australian counterparts?

UK mobile phone providers

Author: Marie Sheehan

Last year we conducted a Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE) Mobile Phone Provider benchmark in the Australian market. In June we will run this study* in the UK and it will be interesting to see they compare!

Some of the findings from the Australian study include:

  • Overall the Australian mobile phone provider industry is not meeting customer expectations online
  • Providers are not engaging customers upon initial interaction. This inability to successfully motivate customers beyond the homepage is prohibiting potential customers from positively engaging with the website and the company itself
  • Virgin AU was the top performer scoring above the industry average in this area by offering an uncluttered home page allowing customers to find what they were looking for
Virgin Digital Sales Effectiveness

Virgin Digital Sales Effectiveness

  • When attempting to find a match for their needs 52% of customers indicated that they experienced a problem doing this
  • The most common problems encountered were the long journeys to find the information they need and knowing where to start looking for it
  • With an average of 36% the industry doesn’t score well when helping to facilitate prospective customers through to purchase

For more information on the Australia DSE please download our free report

Imagine if UK mobile phone providers knew:

  • Why they are losing customers online (and to whom)
  • Why their website traffic is increasing, but sales don’t
  • Why competitors are winning their customers online

These are just some of the actionable insights we deliver.

Five things our Digital Sales Effectiveness programme can tell UK mobile phone providers:

  1. How to optimise their digital customer journey and increase sales
    The data and insights from our industry programmes have a direct, measurable and positive impact on online sales conversions and customer loyalty
  2. Their digital sales effectiveness score
    We measure and score the sales effectiveness of their website based on “in market consumers’ ” evidence, behavioural studies and audits overlaid with our industry best practice audit. A four dimensional approach which yield results that cannot lie
  3. What to do with the data
    Best practice recommendations from our experienced Client Advisory team are evidence based (rather than opinion) and a direct result of running the largest syndicated programme of studies internationally
  4. The problems almost all customers encounter on their websites
    We identify the difficulties 95% of prospective customers experience on your (and your competitors’) websites
  5. How they compare to their competitors
    We give you the granular degree of insight that shows UK mobile phone providers and their competitors at each stage of the online customer journey

*Announcing the launch of the UK Mobile Phone Providers Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE) programme June 2014

Organisations included in the study: Carphone Warehouse, EE, Lebara, O2, Orange, Phones4U, Talk Talk, Tesco Mobile,, T-Mobile, Virgin Media and Vodafone

In June we will run the most advanced study ever conducted focussing on how well UK mobile phone providers’ websites are meeting the needs of their customers.

The findings, which will be available in July, will help mobile phone providers to measure, track and optimise sales on their online sites.

Our programmes and actionable insights are designed to take out subjectivity which enables our clients to make decision making and sales planning with absolute confidence

To arrange a call back or meeting to discuss this study in more detail, and find out more about the full scope of the research as well as the actionable insights Global Reviews deliver please contact us.

To register your interest for our free webinar on this study or to receive our free white paper, please contact us.

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