U.K. Marketers Neglecting Site Usability, Blinded by Paid Search

Businesses are focusing too much of their online marketing budgets on paid search instead of ensuring they have usable and customer-friendly Web sites, according to research commissioned by U.K. digital consultancy Rawnet.

The company’s 2008 Online Conversion Report, released today, suggests that 78 percent of British consumers have been put off from dealing with companies because of usability flaws on their sites. In addition, one in five people have found that the most creative and spectacular sites are usually difficult to navigate, the report says.

Rawnet’s managing director, Adam Smith, believes that marketers are too “preoccupied” with search rankings and expensive paid search listings, than they are with converting subsequent leads to sales.

Speaking with me yesterday, he said, “It’s easy to just throw money at Google, but marketers can put their budgets to better use. In tighter economic conditions getting that lead, sale, or enquiry is far more important than simply boosting your Web site’s traffic.”

He added, “A shocking number of companies are losing out on a massive amount of potential business simply because their Web design agency has focused too much on what looks great, or too much on non-essential technical features, and failed to actually produce a Web site that works for the business.”

The research report was commissioned by Rawnet and conducted by YouGov, which polled a sample of around 2,000 U.K. adults.

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