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5 Common Website Features that Annoy B2B Buyers

by | Feb 11, 2015 | Online Mktg. and Copywriting, Website Copywriting | 0 comments

Last month, I urged you to abandon a common B2B website feature: the slide carousel, or “slider.” I did so because most B2B buyers ignore sliders and many find them annoying.

But bad as they are, sliders are not the most irritating things found on B2B websites. Not by a long shot.

In a B2B web usability survey released last year by Dianna Huff and KoMarketing Associates, 35% of B2B buyers said they found sliders annoying enough to leave a vendor’s website. But five other website features scored even worse. {1}

Today we’ll look at those five features – each of which peeved more than 60% of the buyers surveyed – and give you alternatives that are far more likely to please your online prospects.

Chart from Web Usability Report

Source: 2014 Web Usability Report {1}

1. Autoplay

The most annoying thing your website can do – according to the B2B buyers surveyed by Huff and KoMarketing – is to automatically play audio or video without being asked. An astonishing 93% of respondents said autoplay of audio or video annoys them enough to make them leave a website.

Why do B2B buyers hate autoplay so much? There are two main reasons.

First, it’s distracting. When they come to your website, B2B buyers are mission-driven. They want to find what they’re looking for fast. They don’t like things that interrupt their train of thought.

Second, it wastes their time. Shutting down unwanted audio or video clips is a task your prospects don’t want to deal with, and the pause/stop commands may not be immediately obvious.

Remember, B2B buyers only want information that’s relevant to them, and they want to decide what that is. Many would prefer to watch or listen rather than read, but don’t force that on them. In other words, keep the audio or video; just ditch the autoplay.

Invite visitors to watch or listen to video or audio clips by featuring them prominently. Include a text caption that explains what the clip is about. And make sure the play, pause, stop and volume controls are easy to understand and use.

2. Popups and Animated Ads

Almost as bad as autoplay is “anything that moves.” Popups and animated ads were deemed annoying enough to prompt site abandonment by 88% of B2B buyers.

Huff and KoMarketing said buyers were “pretty passionate” about why they found popups and animation annoying, as you can see in these examples:

“I hate pop up ads which you have to close before you can look at the site. I never even look at those.”

“I hate things that move (including Twitter feed) and things that make noise.”

“My biggest turn-off is anything that ‘moves’ (unless I choose to initiate the movement myself). That includes any kind of animation or rotating images.”

The solution is simple: eliminate autonomous animation and popups. To draw attention to featured offers and content, place them in sidebars that appear on every relevant page. Make that sidebar content easy to scan, and you’ll get far better conversion than you would from a popup or animated ad.

Use pop-ups only in response to visitors’ clicks or – in rare circumstances – to make a final offer to visitors as they leave your website.

3. Incomplete Contact Data

Ever visit a vendor website where the only way to contact the company was through a contact form? There’s no office location. No phone number. Not even an email address. You wouldn’t think this would happen in B2B, but it does. And 79% of B2B buyers find it highly aggravating.

The biggest problem with this practice is its negative impact on credibility. Visitors may rightly wonder, “Is this a real company? Do they even have an office? How do I talk to a ‘live’ person? Who do we call if we have a problem?”

It also wastes prospects’ time. Many B2B buyers want assurance they can easily contact a vendor before adding them to their short list.

B2B buyers want to see full contact information on your contact page. In fact, when Huff and KoMarketing asked their respondents, “What types of content assets establish credibility when exploring vendors?,” the most popular answer (52%) was “thorough Contact or About Information.” As a minimum, that should include:

  • Phone number
  • Email address for inquiries
  • Headquarters address

If you have branch offices, include street addresses and phone numbers for those, as well. You may also want to add email addresses to direct inquiries to specific departments.

A contact form is optional.

Finally, consider putting your main phone number and email address near the top of every page, either in the page header or directly below. Make it easy for prospects to contact you immediately, even without accessing your contact page.

4. Mouse Type

Website visitors hate “fine print.” Some 62% of B2B buyers surveyed found tiny text (“mouse” type) sufficiently annoying to cause them to bail from a website.

Small text slows readers down, especially if they’re browsing on a mobile device. They don’t want to have to zoom in. And they hate to scroll sideways.

Choose comfortably large font sizes for body text. And use responsive design to make sure your site is easily readable on mobile devices, where many B2B buyers are doing their browsing these days.

5. Intrusive Live Chat

For the same reasons B2B buyers hate popups, they also dislike chat boxes that keep “popping up,” inviting them to ask questions of a live operator.

Respondents to Huff and KoMarketing did comment, however, that live chat is helpful when needed. That’s probably why only 60% found chat boxes as annoying as other popups

So make chat available, but keep it out of your visitors’ hair. The best way I’ve seen to do this is with a tab marked “Live Chat” at the right or left edge of the screen, which remains visible as the user scrolls down the page. The box may make a token appearance shortly after the user first comes to your site, but afterwards, only when the user clicks on the tab.

Take-Away Points

B2B buyers hate website features that (1) break their train of thought, (2) waste their time, or (3) lower the credibility of your message. At least 60% of B2B buyers surveyed have indicated that the following annoy them enough to leave your website immediately:

1. Autoplay audio and video (93%)

2. Popups and animated ads (88%)

3. Incomplete contact data (79%)

4. Tiny text (“Mouse type”) (62%)

5. Intrusive live chat (60%)

Next Steps…

Need new content for your website? Call CopyEngineer at (+39) 011 569 4951.

Or drop me an email at:


{1} 2014 B2B Web Usability Report, Dianna Huff and KoMarketing Associates, February 2014.

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