We’ve all experienced that moment of frustration; loaded up a website to read a breaking news story, to buy something you’ve been saving up for, only to be greeted with an error message. The website is down. You may refresh the page a few times to see if it fixes itself, then you might plan to check back on the website in a few hours. But in reality, you probably won’t.

As the consumer in this situation, it’s annoying. As the business, that period of time where your website has crashed and people can’t access it could prove not only to be costly, but to damage your reputation as well.

This is the case according to new research published by Wirehive.  The report, titled ‘The Marketing Cost of Downtime,’ surveyed 1,000 UK consumers and found that a whopping 45% had been shut out of a website they were visiting to buy something during the week before they were polled. Almost 10% of those polled said they had suffered a failed online journey between six and ten times within the same period, while 55% reported difficulty in reaching a site to check a product or service out.

Wirehive’s report also revealed that digital downtime is costing companies more than just money. Of those surveyed, over two thirds (68%) agreed that their opinion of a brand would be negatively affected by downtime on its website. Additionally, 57% agreed that they might be put off buying from a brand in the future because of downtime, showing how seriously consumers take being inconvenienced.

This is a problem Wirehive believe is endemic on the internet. In ‘The Marketing Cost of Downtime,’ Wirehive state that a shocking 95% of websites are not currently fit for purpose, with digital assets on platforms with an “unacceptably high level of risk.”

Wirehive calls for marketers to take notice of the damaging implications poor web hosting has for a brand’s reputation. It is noted that there needs to be more integration between marketing and IT departments, as marketers are consistently more conscious of brand reputation than their IT counterparts.  According to publisher ClickZ, 88% of IT respondents view their company infrastructure as cutting edge, compared to just 61% of marketing respondents.

In closing the report, Wirehive director Kevin MacDonald states that “Consumers, and to an extent marketers, take domain hosting for granted. This report has highlighted how a broken online journey can ruin your brand’s reputation and, worse, dent your sales. It has also attempted to quantify the cost of being offline, which makes grim reading.”

MacDonald goes on to advise; “We’re on a mission to make understanding the intricacies of hosting, and finding the right solution for your business, a marketing industry standard. Get it right and your customers will have a satisfying experience while your organisation saves money and face. In a digital world, this should be front of mind for all brand guardians. It’s time to change the way you think about website hosting.”