Impact of third party websites on consumers’ journey and purchase decisions

Impact of third party websites on consumers’ journey and purchase decisions

For any brand targeting their prospects, it is important to understand how their brand is found or rather, how their potential customers search for brands within their industry. In several of our research studies it was found that consumers rely heavily on third party and aggregator sites when making a brand choice within an industry.

Our research studies found that even though most consumers have a brand in mind before they begin their research, most prefer to use a search engine when researching products or services to then take them through to brand or aggregator sites.preferred brand search journey

So, how can you use search to better your chance of being a preferred brand within an industry?

  1. Aim to meet the broader needs of consumers by tailoring the search creative to the search keywords. Consider paid search for keywords where third party sites are getting featured snippet listings to ensure your brand stays in the mindset.
  2. Tailor search ad creative to the search keyword entered like Budget Direct and Australian Super.
  3. Endeavor to attain a high position on search engines. As seen in the heat map below, most clicks are for the top listings.

best super fund search results compare car insurance search results

search results heat map

Why are consumers going from search through to aggregator sites?

  1. The ease of comparing options and seeing a range of companies in one place are the main reasons consumers want to use an aggregator site.
  2. Almost half of consumers incorrectly think that all companies are shown on aggregator sites and they’ll get the best deals there. This is a risk for brands, if you are not present on the aggregator site – you may lose a chance to join the consumers’ consideration set.

why consumers compare brands

When looking at specific industries, the graphs below show the impact that aggregator sites have on final preferences when it comes to consumers choosing a preferred brand. For example in superannuation, overall 20% of consumers preferred AustralianSuper. However, when we just look at those who visited Canstar as part of their research, 30% of those consumers went on to prefer AustralianSuper.

Interestingly, when we look at energy the two biggest players, AGL and Origin, get a far lower final preference rate from those who used an aggregator site.

Final preference superannuation

final preference home insurance

final preference car insurance

final preference energy

Whilst we acknowledge that aggregator sites are not always the preferred strategy for some brands, there is no doubt that third party sites such as search and aggregators have an impact on which brands consumers ultimately choose as their preferred provider, and there is ample opportunity for brands to take advantage of the popularity of third party websites and increase the likelihood of being chosen as a final preference.

To summarise our findings from our research studies, here are a few key insights and opportunities for brands:

During the consumers' discovery journey, third party sites often gain the most visits- Ensure your brand has a presence on third party sites relevant to your industry
Third party sites are attracting visits through search engine results pages (SERPs)- Tailor search ad creative to key words to ensure more relevance against the third party offering
- Consider paid search for some specific targeted search terms to ensure your brand stays top of mind
Consumer behaviour and display of information on third party sites will affect how competitive your product looks against other brands- Consider tailored products for promotion on third party sites
- Look at ways to gain more exposure on third party sites
Many consumers arriving at your website will already have completed a lot of research at a third party site - they will not want to 'start again'- Offer multiple pathways to products based on the different stages of decision making

To learn more on what you, as a brand can do, see what we revealed during our webinar on this topic or contact us today:

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Mobile websites offer a better experience than desktop and tablet sites when researching and booking domestic flights

Domestic airline booking

In the latest Global Reviews Domestic Booking (Flights) Industry Digital Sales Effectiveness Report, it shows that when it comes to researching and booking a flight online, mobile websites are offering a better experience than their desktop and tablet counterparts.

The benchmark tracks the customers’ journey, across key brands in the travel sector, from their initial engagement with the website, when they are locating and considering the flights, through to completing the booking form.

On a combined average Qantas was seen to offer the best online experience with a score of 59.8%. However, when splitting the results across each of the devices Qantas only led on desktop while Swiss was number one on mobile with Jetstar and Virgin Australia sharing the lead on tablet.

As part of the benchmarking study, consumers are asked about their propensity to recommend a website to a friend or colleague, this forms the Web Promoter Score (WPS) metric.

The industry average WPS was -19%.

airline wps scoreThe mobile sites fared the best with -6%.

Despite mobile sites providing the better experience across devices, there are still areas where it falls behind and therefore is not yet offering a consistently strong performance which shows in this negative WPS score.

Most important website elements as stated by prospective customers
When asked to rate on a scale of 1-10 how important particular features would be on a website when researching and booking a domestic flight, the most important elements were:

Top needs airline websites

As a whole the industry is performing well to meet these needs, however they are lacking some points along the way. The mixed results across brands, with no sole brand dominating all stages of the research and booking process, means that there is a lot of potential for the industry to learn from each other to lift the industry up even further.

Click here to download the full report.

For more information on the research or to find out how your website rates, please contact:
Mark McCathrion
Commercial Director
T: +61 3 9982 3417

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