Media Alert: Adobe Report Finds Web Traffic Growth Stalling; Brands Leveraging Personalized Ads Succeed

Monday, September 26, 2016 12:00 pm EDT


San Jose
"The days of organic website traffic growth are reaching an end"

SAN JOSE, Calif., – Sept. 26, 2016 – At Advertising Week, Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) today released findings from its inaugural Advertising Demand Report, which examined website traffic, digital advertising strategies, ad blocking adoption and consumer perceptions. Key findings of the Adobe Digital Insights report show that organic web traffic in North America is saturating with only 0.1 percent growth over the past 42 months. While six out of ten sites saw traffic grow on average by 1.1 percent each month, nearly four out of ten sites saw traffic decline at a higher rate by 1.3 percent. Between Q2 2013 and Q2 2016, growing websites drew 36 percent more traffic from personalized ads via email, paid search, social and other channels compared to shrinking sites. The data also shows that seven out of ten smartphone visits now come from ad channels.

The analysis of web traffic and ad trends is based on anonymous and aggregated data from Adobe Marketing Cloud, which collected 800 billion visits to 800 North American websites across vertical industries between January 2013 and June 2016. Complementary survey results are based on responses from more than 1,000 U.S. consumers, covering perceptions around digital advertising and ad blocking. Ad blocking statistics are based on data from PageFair. The findings will be part of Adobe’s Think Tank discussion at Advertising Week (see details below).

“The days of organic website traffic growth are reaching an end,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst, Adobe Digital Insights. “Marketers need to prioritize personalization of cross-channel ad content and truly focus on mobile advertising or face declining traffic to their branded properties.”

Additional findings include:

  • Cross-channel advertising drives website visits – Across industries, ad channels account for varying traffic levels. Media and entertainment websites saw the most ad-driven traffic (72 percent average share in Q2 2016), as consumers seek rich and engaging content. The retail sector shows the biggest traffic gap between sites that grew and those that shrank – 72 versus 63 percent share respectively.
  • Long-term ad strategies increase revenue; Ad channels drive more traffic – By combining multiple tactics into the marketing mix, online retailers that experienced growing site traffic drove an average of 17 cents of revenue per visitor – seven percent more than those retailers that saw shrinking web traffic. Also, 70 percent of smartphone visits came from ad channels – up 40 percent compared to three years ago.
  • Consumers believe ads are improving and can be effective, but marketers need to work more on personalization – Based on survey results, 68 percent of U.S. consumers feel ads have improved or stayed the same, with 57 percent saying marketers are running interesting ads. While 78 percent of consumers like personalized ads, only 28 percent feel they are appropriately customized. Also, consumers indicate the most interesting ads are seen while web browsing and interacting on social media (leading with Facebook). Consumers conveyed the least interesting ads appear when interruption is unwarranted while doing something with intent, such as watching videos or using an app.
  • Highly personalized ads that are consistent across channels enable advertisers to mitigate ad blocker adoption – Based on data from PageFair, the U.S. ranks in the lower half compared to Europe in terms of current desktop ad blocking penetration (18 percent). However, global monthly active desktop ad blockers have grown four times over the past three years to 220 million. From U.S. consumers surveyed, 44 percent using blockers find desktop ads annoying and the vast majority (89 percent) plan to continue using an ad blocker.

The findings will be part of the Adobe Think Tank at Advertising Week. The forum will feature industry influencers discussing “The Future of Digital Experiences,” and focus on the opportunities and challenges businesses face in reaching their customers. This working group will discuss the role of the marketer in designing these future experiences, the technology that enables the experience, and the people that consume the experience. Moderated by Julie Hopkins, managing vice president at Gartner, participants include Jon Hackett, senior vice president of emerging technology, Publicis North America; Edmund Carey, global vice president, Dun & Bradstreet; Rana June, CEO, Lightwave; Eric Asche, CMO, Truth Initiative; Megan Burns, consultant and former Forrester analyst; Jaime Punishill, managing principal, Digital Tao and former financial services industry executive; and John Coyne, head of campaign and marketing experience, Adobe. To join the live webcast via Facebook Live on Wednesday, September 28 at 1:00 p.m. PT / 4:00 p.m. ET, go to

Helpful Links

About Adobe

Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. For more information, visit


Craig Corica

Becky Canfield

Related Materials