SINGAPORE: The Asia Pacific region is leading the way in the shift to mobile-first business, with marketers in South East Asia particularly focused on mobile as an effective form of customer engagement.

That's the conclusion of a new study by Adobe Digital Index – Best of the Best Benchmark 2015 – which compared the overall average versus the top 20% websites as rated on six key performance indicators across eight regions: South East Asia (including Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia), Australia and New Zealand, India, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Japan and the US.

The indicators included smartphone and tablet traffic; stick rate (defined as the percentage of visits that last more than one page); visits-per-visitor; time spent; conversion rate; and click-through-rate.

South East Asia saw double-digit increases year-over-year in their share of smartphone visits, with an 18% increase for best of the best websites and 11% increase for average websites.

Loyal return visitors were more prominent in the region than the US, both from average websites and best of the best websites, which, Adobe Digital Index pointed out, equates to higher loyalty and reduced acquisition costs.

Time spent on websites is the best metric for site engagement and the best of the best websites were 22% higher than the average; all countries in Asia Pacific fared better than the US.

"The best digital marketers in South East Asia are delivering strong results in some key performance areas,” said Tamara Gaffney, Director, Adobe Digital Index.

"Not only did we see the gaps increase for smartphone visits between the best of the best websites and the average websites, we congruently saw the "best of the best” are also moving away from the average in terms of stick rate, indicating the direct correlation between mobile capability and consumer engagement.”

But click-through rates were weak in South East Asia, showing a lack of alignment between consumer intent and advertising execution. Similarly some of the weakest conversion rates were also in the region.

"The data is telling us that delivering seamless experiences across devices is the key to acquisition and engagement,” Gaffney concluded.

Data sourced from Adobe Digital Index; additional content by Warc staff