Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) has been around for nearly 26 years. At its inception, it took over as the browser of choice for nearly 95% of all internet users, and some people today still think IE is “the internet” because of it. When it came out, Internet Explorer was at the top of its game and tried to do everything from incorporating the best internet features (features we still use across the entire web today in all browsers) to providing more people with online resources as a built-in addition to Windows operating systems.
The problem came in the early 2000s, however, when IE began to lose its reputation as the best internet browser. As other popular browsers like Chrome and Firefox began to emerge, Microsoft failed at dedicating enough resources to IE to compensate for other important browser features, such as increased security and speed, something its competitors were growing increasingly good at. Instead of improving its approach, Microsoft doubled down by making IE extraordinarily difficult to remove from Windows and refused to improve its issues. Because of a few other problems for IE, which you can reference in this video, modern browsers such as Chrome and Firefox began to take over, making IE obsolete until today, where it has now faced its ultimate demise.
The End of Internet Explorer
In the summer of this year, August 17, 2021, Microsoft and the world will finally say goodbye to Internet Explorer. On this date, Microsoft will no longer support Internet Explorer and will instead dedicate its resources and attention to the other services it provides. This means that Internet Explorer will maybe function to view some web pages, but it will grow increasingly less secure and will not have the capabilities of rendering new websites using the latest tech and coding practices, including those adopted by the other major browsers like Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.
For Microsoft users who are concerned about this phase-out, you are probably already familiar with Microsoft’s alternative browser that emerged when Windows 10 rolled out – Microsoft Edge. Edge serves to replace Window’s legacy IE with one vital difference: Edge’s core is based on Chromium software. This means that it may have the look of Windows, but it will function like Google’s Chrome browser. Pushing forward, these adjustments to improve our Internet experience will ultimately mean growth, but discontinuing support now in lieu of the new can also come with some give and take.
Nifty’s Previous Support for IE
Nifty’s approach to building websites has always entailed user inclusivity. Our aim as an SEO company is to engage as many potential customers as possible with our clients’ websites to generate the best leads. When it comes to website development, this has meant that we have needed to make sure we never excluded internet users who used IE. This came with a downside: our code was severely restricted. IE has been left in the dust when it comes to the functionality Chrome, Firefox, and Safari now support. We have included an immersive experience for all internet users, despite their browser, to ensure our clients are receiving as much relevant website traffic from as many eyes as possible, but it has recently come at a cost to our clients and their websites.
Nifty Will No Longer Support IE
Starting this year, Nifty is rolling out a new WordPress theme upon which all of our clients’ websites will be built. The theme is tailored to accommodate custom design elements and the newest technology on the web. With the discontinuation of Internet Explorer this year in August, we see this as an opportunity to follow the other major players in the tech industry who have already abandoned their websites’ support for IE, including Apple, Facebook, Youtube, Yahoo, and many others. Our new theme, combined with abandoned support for IE, means we will be able to code to the best web standards and incorporate the newest features available. Design opportunities that were once impossible because of a lack of IE support are now possible. We can now code sites to load faster than ever before while bringing the classic, sexy website look Nifty has always been known for. With IE no longer in the mix, all of our clients’ websites will be able to face the future with widely-supported code and the added benefit that they won’t lose any potential businesses because of the switch.
This Doesn’t Affect Business or Lead Generation.
The reality is that some people will still use IE, even after it is no longer supported. We understand that this may be a concern for some, but most sources indicate that the overall, world-wide IE market share usage for IE currently hovers around 5 – 5.5%. In the US alone, the IE market share is only 1.9%, and we can anticipate that this will steadily decrease to near negligible numbers with its abandoned support (we can anticipate that once users realize all web pages they visit are broken on IE, they probably won’t use it anymore).
While these averages for IE usage are both useful and compelling, we were also interested in how this data compared to our clients across Nifty. We gathered data to see if any of our clients would ultimately be negatively impacted by a switch to abandoned IE support and whether or not it would be worth the new, faster coding practices to sacrifice leads.
To do this, we conducted an internal study that examined several metrics across all of our clients. These metrics are listed as follows:
- Yearly IE user percentage
- Organic-only IE user percentage
- Conversion of IE users
- Conversion of IE users compared to all other browser users
In the past year, all of our clients collectively experienced an IE user-rate of 2.84%. This initially looked as if Nifty’s clients fell right in line with the national average, but there was more to the story. As we looked further into it, nearly half of every client’s IE traffic was generated by spam bots and didn’t represent real user traffic. To compensate for this fact, we took the organic-only IE traffic percentage to adjust for the overall 2.84% IE user rate, which left us with 1.06%. Ultimately, we can assume that across all 2.8 million website users that visited our clients’ sites in the past year, somewhere between 29 thousand to 40 thousand visitors used IE to access these sites. Across all of our clients, this averages out to 325 IE users per client every year (with some clients receiving more or less, depending on their location).
We then looked at the conversion rates of IE users to determine if these few thousand site visitors were converting more or less than other browsers. Across all of our client’s sites, only .19% of IE users converted into some actionable lead, either with a form-fill or phone call. This means that 5,320 IE users of the 2.8 million total visitors across all of our clients converted to an actionable lead. Spread across all of our clients, this equates to 64 users a year, or about 5 leads a month. **It should be noted that this doesn’t mean that all of the form-fills or phone calls were legitimate leads, either – IE is commonly used to spam websites, and spam bots can fill out phony form-fill submissions which look like conversions when they really aren’t. We didn’t investigate this aspect further, but we can assume that less than 5,320 IE, real-person lead generations per year is a more accurate representation of the data.
What does this mean for business? It is fairly apparent that IE users are diminishing, and they are not greatly contributing to overall conversions on our client websites. We also know this number will decrease even more as Microsoft discontinues their support for the browser this year. As Nifty abandons IE support in our development processes, we will not be losing very many leads for our clients, but we are gaining a lot more via our ability to use new technologies.
What About the 5 Leads a Month!?
Like the previous section indicated, 5 leads a month was averaged across all of our clients, and that number is probably less due to spammy form submissions. This means we are only looking at maybe 1 to 3 potentially legitimate leads a month per business that have come from Internet Explorer. The loss of these leads may seem substantial to some, but most of our clients who are engaged in active SEO and paid advertising are likely to see more lead generation every month because of our efforts than what they would expect to lose by adopting new coding and website practices/processes.
For those who are truly concerned about losing their IE users, we have a solution that has ubiquitously been used in the past 5 to 10 years to help assuage the problem. We will equip our sites for a little more than the next year and a half with a browser detection code snippet. If the browser detection snippet recognizes the user is on Internet Explorer, it will display a code that appears with a form, call to action button, or both explaining that they should use another browser to view the website or to fill out their information to contact the business. This approach will do one of two things: 1) it will encourage the user to convert right then and there, which will let you know they were a serious site visitor, or 2) it will encourage the user to engage in a different way that will provide them a richer online experience. Either way, it sifts out the bots and the less serious leads and allows for greater user interaction and lead-generation potential. Why only a year and a half? That will allow all IE users to make the switch to another browser and give them one year from this August to get adjusted to the change. If the user is using any other browsers, this message will not display and a visitor can go through the site as normal.
Our Confidence and Commitment
In our company, we do everything we do with our clients in mind. We thoroughly comb through the data and research literature and trends to ensure the decisions we make will ultimately benefit those we work with. We are confident in our decision to move away from IE support because it will mean a better web experience for everyone – our clients and their potential customers alike. Our data and other market trends, combined with Microsoft’s recent news to discontinue its original browser, suggest that this will be a good move that ultimately allows our designers and developers to focus on other, more important things that the future holds. As we work to funnel more people to your site, we know that the technologies we use will engage them more than ever before and ultimately lead to a better business for you.