Nearly 9 in 10 digital consumers switch devices or stop viewing content if it’s not well presented, takes too long to load or is too lengthy, a study says.

Consumers value good design and want a website to be easy to use on any device, as they are increasingly using multiple devices simultaneously, according to Adobe Inc.

Adobe research on content marketing finds that 83% of global consumers use on average 2.23 devices at the same time, and many rank display and good design as most important when consuming online content. Adobe’s report, “The State of Content: Rules of Engagement for 2016,” surveyed more than 12,000 consumers 18 and older who use at least one digital device in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, France and Australia. U.S. consumers reported using 2.42 devices simultaneously, the highest number of all countries surveyed. Survey participants were provided a list of devices and were asked to select up to three that they frequently used together or at the same time. For example, using devices simultaneously would mean watching something on an iPad while working on your laptop and browsing social media on your smartphone at the same time, Adobe says. The list of devices consumers could choose from included video gaming systems, such wearable devices as Fitbit or Apple Watch, and entertainment streaming devices, such as an Internet-connected TV or Roku system.

65% of consumers surveyed rank how content is displayed as most important when viewing content online, and 54% say overall good design, such as appealing layout and photography, is important. But when they only have a short time to spare, 15 minutes or less, 59% say they prefer consuming content that is beautifully designed, rather than simply presented.

“As attention spans shrink, good design and optimization are paramount,” Loni Stark, Adobe senior director of digital marketing, wrote in a blog post. 89% of digital consumers would switch devices or stop viewing content altogether if it fails to meet their quality, length and formatting expectations, the report says. 79% would stop engaging in content if it doesn’t display well on their devices and 67% say they would do the same if the content is too long.

Consumers are skeptical of content on company websites. 50% of consumers question whether negative comments or reviews have been removed and 49% wonder if an author was paid or rewarded in some other way to write a positive review, according to the report.


Consumers are more trusting of brands they’ve purchased from before. 43% of consumers trust content from retailers whose products they’ve purchased, while only 23% trust content from retailers from whom they’ve not purchased products. “Brands need to work on building trusted relationships with their audience, which includes disclosing any endorsements, sponsorships and affiliations,” Stark says.

Most consumers are willing to share personal information with retailers to improve recommendations, but even more would be willing to share data if companies asked permission first. 73% of consumers are open to retailers recommending products and 71% don’t object to predictive recommendations from brands based on past purchases and behavior. 75% are willing to share at least one piece of information about themselves to improve the recommendations they see. Of consumers who don’t want to disclose their information, 40% believe companies could do something to ease their concern and 25% say asking permission to access data would make them more comfortable.

The report also found that humor strikes a chord with consumers. 70% say it’s easier to relate to companies when they’re funny. However, only 14% believe that company-created content is entertaining. 63% say that if they do follow a company’s content, they would prefer to see curated content. Adobe defines this as relevant and current content as opposed to a generic tweet, for example.