Analysis Shows Product Detail Pages Underperform As E-Commerce Landing Pages, But…

May 8, 2018

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Email | Industries | Paid Search | Retail & E-Commerce | Search Engine Optimization | Social Media

Nearly 1 in 4 online shoppers arrived at e-commerce sites on product detail pages (PDPs) during Q1, reports Monetate [download page] in a study of close to 2 billion global shopping sessions. Unfortunately, given their prevalence as landing pages, the analysis shows that PDPs underperform other landing pages. Here are some quick insights from Monetate’s latest e-commerce quarterly report.

PDPs Fail to Generate Engagement, Revenue

The problems with product detail pages as landing pages start early in the purchase journey, but don’t end there. Consider these high-level stats provided in the report:

  • Visitors who land on a PDP are 72% more likely to bounce than those who land on a different page;
  • Visitors landing on a PDP view 42% fewer pages (8.8 per shopping session) than those landing on a different page (12.5);
  • Visitors landing on a PDP convert at half the rate of those landing on a different page (1.5% and 2.9%, respectively); and
  • Those landing on a PDP have a revenue per session that’s half the amount of those landing on a different page ($1.72 and $3.43, respectively).

Why might this be? Monetate theorizes that visitors landing on PDPs may not see the information that higher-level pages including homepages and product category pages provide about the brand, making it difficult for visitors to quickly ascertain if the brand is a good fit and worth further engaging with.

The Referring Channel Makes A Difference

PDPs have a higher bounce rate than other e-commerce pages regardless of the referring channel. However, the gap is particularly acute for search-referred visitors, who are more than twice as likely to bounce when landing on PDPs (45%) as on other pages (20%).

Visitors referred by social media platforms are more likely to bounce than those arriving from search or email, but the gap between PDP and other-page performance is narrower. Namely, shoppers referred from social media are only 29% more likely to bounce when they land on a product detail page (52%) as when they land on a different page (40%).

Moreover, the gap in page views (between those who land on a PDP and those who land on another page) is only 20% for socially-referred visitors, versus 58% for search-referred shoppers.

Focusing on Immediate Engagement Can Pay Off

While PDPs underperform overall in generating engagement, when visitors who land on a PDP do engage with the site, there are encouraging developments. Their conversion rate is only 25% lower than those who engage with the site after landing elsewhere, and their average order value is on par with customers entering on other pages of the site.

Marketers can take advantage of this as, Monetate notes that “the performance gap can be closed, but only if they take extra steps to create immediate engagement with visitors who land on PDPs.”

There is one “building block” identified in the report: while visitors landing on PDPs view fewer pages overall than those landing on other pages, they actually view more product pages.

Conversion Rates Differ by Referral Channel

While visitors landing on PDPs are open to viewing alternative products, they end up buying the product they landed on 60% of the time. That figure is even higher (72%) among those arriving at a product detail page from a social media platform, perhaps because “the brand content that appears in social feeds… may function as a mini-PDP, drawing customers who are more informed about the product than the average visitor prior to click-through.”

What’s interesting to note, also, is that visitors who land on a product page from email actually convert at a slightly higher rate than those who land on other pages from email. This suggests that marketers could experiment with sending visitors from email directly to product pages more often, as they’re only doing that 9% of the time.

Social-referred visitors are also more apt to convert when landing on a PDP than on another page.

As such, while PDPs aren’t always the best landing pages, brands that are looking to market a specific product can consider sending visitors there.

The recommendation? Personalizing product detail pages by referring channel – taking into account the different behavior of search-referred visitors (better to prioritize immediate engagement and higher-level pages) to email and social-referred visitors (who might be more likely to convert on a PDP).

The full report is available for download here.

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