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Irrelevant Content Is Killing the UX

Posted on 7.30.2013

A new study proves that irrelevant content can kill the user experience.

The 2013 Online Personal Experience study, which was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Janrain, reveals that 74 percent of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content is displayed (such as offers, ads and promotions) that has nothing to do with their interests. In fact, the study found that 28 percent of respondents would give up social networks for a week, 25 percent would give up chocolate for a month and 21 percent would give up their smartphone for a day in exchange for relevant content on all of their favorite websites.

Perhaps the study’s most interesting stats, however, show that people are more annoyed by irrelevant political ads than anything else. For example, 67 percent of adults would lose their patience and leave a website if an ad appeared asking for donations from the political party that they dislike the most. That said, just 57 percent of respondents would leave a site if they were married and shown ads for a dating service, while 50 percent would leave if shown a recommendation to purchase underwear for the opposite gender.

"These results align perfectly with additional market research indicating that consumers have reached the tipping point when it comes to being shown content that isn't relevant to them," said Larry Drebes, CEO of Janrain. "It's a wake up call for brands to fix this problem or risk losing customers and prospects."

Despite demanding a personalized experience when browsing the Web, the study reveals that consumers are still wary of providing personal information to online businesses. Businesses, however, can ease these fears by being upfront with their consumers. For instance, 77 percent of respondents would trust businesses more if they explained how they use personal information to improve the online experience, and 57 percent are OK with providing personal information as long as it’s for their benefit and being used in responsible ways.

"Consumers have been pretty consistent and clear in their feedback," said Drebes. "The way to avoid alienating them is to give them what they want – personalized, relevant content using their data in a responsible and transparent way."

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