2022 Marketing Benchmarks: Web Traffic and Conversion Trends for 150,000 Businesses

2022 threw a lot of curveballs at businesses – from record-high inflation to ongoing supply chain disruptions to a labor shortage that just wouldn‘t quit. Amidst all of that volatility and uncertainty, how did business websites actually perform?

Some of the findings from our analysis of over 150,000 companies‘ web data might surprise you:

  • Overall website traffic grew by 4.9% year-over-year, but visitor engagement took a significant hit
  • Retail and healthcare sites continued their pandemic-fueled traffic surge, while most other industries saw more modest growth
  • Nobody was immune to the engagement declines, with session duration and pages per session down across the board
  • Conversion rates barely budged overall, masking some dramatic shifts in individual industries

Let‘s unpack the data behind these topline takeaways and what they mean for your marketing strategy in 2023. Use these benchmarks to see how your website stacks up and identify opportunities to get ahead of the competition.

Methodology

To create this report, HubSpot‘s research team analyzed website traffic and conversion data from 150,699 HubSpot customers from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022. We included websites with at least 100 total sessions during the year, and removed outliers with 30X the average monthly traffic to avoid skewing the data.

The data was aggregated and anonymized to protect customer privacy. Keep in mind that while this is a large and diverse sample, it may not be representative of all business websites since HubSpot‘s customers skew towards small and midsize companies.

Websites were grouped by industry based on the company‘s self-reported industry within their HubSpot portal. Only industries with a sufficient sample size were included in the industry-level data.

Overall Website Benchmarks for 2022

Let‘s start with the overall website performance benchmarks for 2022:

Metric Median Change from 2021
Monthly sessions 6,430 +4.9%
Pages per session 1.39 -8.3%
Average session duration 1:02 -10.1%
Conversion rate 1.6% +0.1 pts

At first glance, it seems like websites had a pretty good year – attracting 4.9% more traffic than 2021. However, when we look at the engagement metrics, we see a much different story.

Pages per session fell by 8.3% and average session duration decreased by 10.1% year-over-year. So while more people were visiting websites, they were viewing fewer pages and spending less time during each visit. Not exactly the trend marketers want to see.

Conversion rates did eke out a small increase from 1.5% in 2021 to 1.6% in 2022. But with the steep declines in engagement, this tiny improvement in conversions is hardly cause for celebration. It suggests most sites didn‘t get much better at turning their traffic into leads or customers.

So what‘s driving this sitewide slump in engagement and stagnation in conversions? There are a few potential factors at play:

Economic anxiety depressing consumer activity

With inflation hitting 40-year highs and a recession looming, many consumers cut back on discretionary spending in 2022. Fewer online purchases and product research could account for the drops in pages viewed and time spent.

Digital fatigue setting in post-pandemic

After two years of doing virtually everything online, some people were eager to get back to more in-person shopping and business in 2022. Visitors may have been using websites more for quick reference vs. in-depth browsing.

Rising competition for consumer attention

The pandemic-driven shift to digital persisted in 2022, with more brands than ever competing for limited online attention. If your website experience didn‘t instantly grab and hold visitors‘ interest, they likely clicked away to something else.

Google algorithm updates rewarding quality over quantity

Google rolled out several major search algorithm updates in 2022 that aimed to surface more relevant, helpful content for searchers. Websites with large volumes of thin, outdated or low-quality pages may have seen traffic declines as a result.

The key takeaway is that simply attracting more traffic is no longer enough – the quality and engagement of that traffic is equally (if not more) important. In 2023, marketers must focus on delivering exceptional website experiences that not only attract visitors, but convince them to stick around and take action.

Now let‘s see how these trends played out across different industries.

Website Benchmarks by Industry

Retail & Ecommerce

Metric Median Change from 2021
Monthly sessions 16,070 +10.4%
Pages per session 2.31 -6.5%
Average session duration 2:08 -7.9%
Conversion rate 1.5% +7.1%

Retail and ecommerce websites continued to thrive in 2022 with a 10.4% year-over-year increase in monthly traffic. Clearly, the pandemic-driven surge in online shopping has staying power.

However, retailers weren‘t immune to the sitewide engagement declines. Pages per session fell 6.5% and average session duration dropped 7.9% compared to 2021. This could reflect online shoppers being more mission-driven – going directly to the products they need vs. leisurely browsing.

The good news is that conversion rates rose significantly from 1.4% to 1.5% – a 7.1% relative increase. This suggests retail websites are doing a better job at removing friction from the purchase process and using personalization to put the right products in front of visitors.

Amir Kabbara, Director of Product at Shopify, advises retail brands to lean into the shift towards more purposeful online shopping:

"In 2023, it‘s all about helping customers find and purchase exactly what they need in as few clicks as possible. That means having a laser-focus on search, product discovery, and checkout optimization. AI and personalization will be key to delivering the most relevant experience to each shopper."

Technology (Software & SaaS)

Metric Median Change from 2021
Monthly sessions 8,890 +2.8%
Pages per session 1.94 -4.9%
Average session duration 1:31 -6.2%
Conversion rate 2.1% -4.5%

Technology and SaaS companies saw anemic traffic growth of just 2.8% in 2022, a slowdown from 4.4% growth in 2021. This may reflect saturation in the market after a few boom years for cloud software during the pandemic.

Pages per session and average session duration also fell by 4.9% and 6.2% respectively. Even more concerning, conversion rates fell from 2.2% to 2.1% year-over-year. With the lack of net new demand, tech marketers are having to work harder to engage and convert the traffic they do have.

Anna Talerico, founder of SaaS marketing consultancy Arthur Ventures, recommends focusing on activation and adoption:

"In a tighter market, you can‘t afford to just pour more top-of-funnel leads into a leaky bucket. Double down on onboarding, customer enablement, and driving usage of your product. Showcase high-converting features like interactive demos and product tours."

Professional Services

Metric Median Change from 2021
Monthly sessions 1,860 +4.8%
Pages per session 1.69 -3.4%
Average session duration 1:30 -5.3%
Conversion rate 1.5% no change

Professional services websites enjoyed a healthy 4.8% bump in traffic compared to 2021. Law firms, accounting firms, agencies, and other service providers seem to have benefited from the continued economic recovery.

But engagement rates took above-average hits, with pages per session slumping 3.4% and average session duration falling 5.3%. Conversion rates stayed flat year-over-year at 1.5%.

To combat consultation fatigue, Jill McKenna, Managing Director at professional services growth consultancy Prudent Pedal, advises emphasizing your firm‘s unique value:

"Practically every firm says they have the best people and a ‘client-first approach‘. To differentiate, highlight tangible outcomes you‘ve achieved for clients. Build credibility with case studies, testimonials and thought leadership that demonstrates your expertise."

Healthcare

Metric Median Change from 2021
Monthly sessions 14,840 +10.3%
Pages per session 1.45 -5.2%
Average session duration 1:30 +2.4%
Conversion rate 0.7% no change

Healthcare organizations continued to see some of the highest traffic growth, with monthly sessions up 10.3% over 2021. An aging population and the increased availability of online health services are likely fueling this demand.

Pages per session did decline 5.2% year-over-year, but healthcare was the only industry to see an increase in average session duration, up 2.4%. People are spending more time engaging with health information and resources, even if they‘re viewing fewer pages per visit.

Conversion rates were unchanged at 0.7%, remaining the lowest of any industry. This isn‘t necessarily cause for alarm, as many healthcare website visitors are simply looking for information vs. being in "buying mode".

However, there is room for improvement in turning traffic into patients and customers. Stephen Moegling, SVP of Growth at healthcare marketing agency Hailey Sault, recommends leveraging the longer session durations:

"The fact that healthcare website visitors are spending more time per session is a huge opportunity. Focus on interactive content like health assessments, symptom checkers, and provider video Q&As. Make it easy for visitors to take high-value actions like booking an appointment right from the page."

Manufacturing

Metric Median Change from 2021
Monthly sessions 3,180 +4.5%
Pages per session 2.17 -3.1%
Average session duration 1:49 -5.2%
Conversion rate 1.4% -12.5%

Manufacturing websites saw modest traffic growth of 4.5% in 2022, a slight acceleration from 3.7% growth in 2021. An uptick in demand for industrial products and equipment post-pandemic likely played a role.

But manufacturers struggled to keep visitors engaged, with 3.1% and 5.2% decreases in pages per session and average session duration respectively. Even more alarming, conversion rates plummeted from 1.6% to 1.4% – a 12.5% year-over-year decline.

With long sales cycles and an emphasis on personal relationships, manufacturers may be having a hard time replicating the traditional buying experience online. But with more of the industrial buying process moving to digital, adapting is a must.

Lara Schneider, Marketing Manager at supply chain software vendor Kinaxis, advises creating content for every stage of the buyer‘s journey:

"Manufacturers need to go beyond product specs and data sheets. Use your website to nurture prospects with thought leadership content, virtual facility tours, configure-price-quote tools, and interactive ROI calculators. Make it easy for buyers to educate themselves and make purchase decisions."

Media & Entertainment

Metric Median Change from 2021
Monthly sessions 44,380 +1.7%
Pages per session 1.33 -4.3%
Average session duration 1:21 -5.9%
Conversion rate 0.8% no change

Media and entertainment websites saw the lowest traffic growth of any industry at just 1.7%. This may reflect a slowdown in the pandemic-driven surge in content consumption as people spent less time at home.

Pages per session and average session duration fell 4.3% and 5.9% respectively. Conversion rates were flat year-over-year at 0.8%. This suggests media companies are struggling to keep visitors engaged and coming back to their sites regularly.

To combat this, some publishers are getting creative with their digital experiences. Neil Vogel, CEO of Dotdash Meredith, is bullish on interactive content:

"Static articles just don‘t cut it anymore. We‘re investing heavily in multimedia storytelling, data visualization, and utility content like quizzes and calculators. These formats boost engagement, subscriptions, and ad revenue."

Key Takeaways & Tips for Marketers

Based on this analysis, here are our top tips for improving your website performance in 2023:

  1. Focus on engagement, not just traffic. Take a hard look at your page/session, time on site, and bounce rates. Identify the pages and journeys causing visitors to drop off and optimize them.

  2. Speed up your site. Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to identify performance issues. Compress images, minify code, and leverage caching to improve load times. Even a 1-second delay can hurt conversions.

  3. Refresh your content. Update and consolidate old, underperforming posts and pages. Create new content around topics with rising search interest. Prune thin, duplicate and low-quality pages that could be dragging down your site.

  4. Personalize the experience. Use visitor data like location, traffic source, and behavior to dynamically customize the content and offers shown. Tools like HubSpot CMS make this easy.

  5. Improve your internal linking. Help visitors discover relevant content and keep them moving through your site. Use descriptive anchor text and organize links logically.

  6. Prominently display your CTAs. Make your conversion points impossible to miss. Use contrasting colors, striking copy, and multiple placements. Consider pop-ups and sticky bars for high-value CTAs.

  7. Simplify your conversion forms. Reduce the number of fields and only ask for essential information. Use progressive profiling to gradually collect more data over time.

  8. Invest in your site search. Many visitors rely on search to navigate your site. Optimize your search results for relevance and usability. Implement autocomplete and faceted search to help visitors find what they need faster.

  9. Test interactive content. Experiment with assessments, calculators, games, and other engaging formats. Use analytics to see what resonates and drives conversions.

  10. Build a retention strategy. Don‘t just focus on acquiring new visitors. Implement tactics to bring people back like email newsletters, loyalty programs, and personalized offers.

The bar for website experiences is only getting higher. By focusing on quality over quantity and continuously optimizing for engagement and conversion, you can stay ahead of the curve and turn more of your traffic into loyal customers.

Get the Full Report

Want to dive deeper into the data? Download the full 2022 Website Traffic & Conversion Report for 40+ pages of benchmarks, trends, and actionable takeaways. You‘ll get:

  • Detailed monthly and annual data for 6 key metrics across 11 industries
  • Benchmarks by company size and region
  • Channel-specific engagement metrics and trends
  • Predictions and recommendations for 2023 from 15 industry experts