marketing sherpa survey results: 80% of consumers
hate flash intros
by marketingsherpa.com sign
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time to face facts: consumers hate flash.
"if you must offer a 'skip intro' option, shouldn't
your better judgment kick in?" asked anna murray,
president e*media inc., during a panel on marketing
to women at the recent ad:tech conference.
on october 29th, murray ran a poll garnering responses
from 579 consumers voting for their favorite of
two home page variations for "acme haircare". one
version started with a flash intro, the other was
static html. (link to original poll below.) 80%
of respondents voted for the site *without* a flash
so, why do so many consumer packaged goods firms
-- including coke, 7 up, lipton, general mills,
and clairol -- not to mention many advertising agencies,
love to plaster flash intros on their sites? (perhaps
it reminds them of good old television?)
here's more data from murray's poll, plus the top
three other homepage design mistakes she sees fortune
500s make. flash intros & flash navigation 70% of
those who took murray's survey have jobs that do
not include marketing or advertising. of that number,
80% chose the site without flash. (those within
the industry disliked the flash site even more at
just over 80%.)
respondents' comments revealed how deeply anti-flash
feelings run these days. "people really waxed poetic
about how much they hated flash," murray says. a
few sample comments: "flash sucks. if i want a movie,
i'll go to the theater. i just want quick information."
"flash should be banned from the face of the earth
- such a pain." "if i'm going to a web site, i want
information. i want information quickly. it could
be written in 10 point pica for all i care. i'm
already interested in what might be there, why turn
me off?" "when searching the web, my most immediate
concern is generally time, how quick can i find/do
it. this leaves little room for animation."
murray concedes that flash may have its place,
such as with user- initiated requests to see something
"rich." for example, one respondent said that animation
in the corner of the screen is okay if you have
the option to turn it on or off, and a few mentioned
that flash can be useful when demo-ing products.
but, don't fool yourself into thinking it's slow
internet connections that causes people to hate
flash. in fact, the respondents who had cable or
dsl disliked the flash intro by more than 80%.
more interesting stats: 75% of non-marketing professional
women said no flash. 81% of non-marketing professional
men said no flash. the youngsters of those polled
(ages 18-24) also chose the non-flash intro, at
in light of this, murray says, there are two other
things to keep in mind: if your site is designed
entirely in flash, you might want to rethink it.
and sites using flash navigation that require users
to move the curser in order to see their options
are shooting themselves in the foot.
three more cpg home page design mistakes
mistake #1. the who-is-my-visitor syndrome
this happens with companies that are corporate-centric
rather than being focused on the consumer, murray
explains. don't try to be everything to everybody.
gear your main site toward your main constituency,
she recommends. unfortunately many of the biggest
brands don't do this. for example, on the l'oreal
site, the buttons on the nav bar include human resources,
research, press room, finance & resources. you have
to search to find any mention of the company's brands.
"is it too much of a stretch to guess that someone
who visits the l'oreal web site wants to find a
lipstick?" murray asks.
mistake #2. look at my print ad!
do you really want to devote the majority of your
homepage real estate to a single picture? murray
asks. for example, with the olay site, "80% of the
page is turned over to a picture that has no functionality,"
she says. visitors to a site like olay want information,
"and you're making them click." and extra clicks,
says murray, are "the biggest sin on the web."
mistake #3. what country are you from?
"why is this so important?" murray asks. "why,
god, why?" seriously, many companies look at which
division's site gets the most traffic (germany,
switzerland, the czech republic, the us -- you get
the picture) and divide the budget that way, she
explains. so putting a map of the world and making
visitors click to get into the site is a corporate
need, not a consumer need. "get out your spreadsheet
and figure out where your consumers are coming from,
then put a nice little drop-down menu for your misdirected
germany visitor," she says. in other words, put
consumers' needs in front of corporate needs.
your vision, our work: a "web design"
company doesn't even begin to cover us.