Website loading time is the first impression of our online business. Websites are 24-hour shops hosting our products and receiving the visits of potential customers. As a conventional shop, websites should offer a good experience to visitors, being tidy, efficient and expedite.
Imagine you arrive at a store and you have to wait to be attended. That is why you buy on the internet; your expectations are high in terms of efficiency and quick service. You are expecting to arrive at a nice place, but you also want to be attended immediately
Therefore, a slow website cause delays and discomfort to visitors affecting their experience and all our marketing metrics. 47% of online consumers expect websites to load in two second or less, and 40% will abandon a page that takes three or more seconds.
In other words, websites taking more than three seconds to load could be losing half of their potential visitors. An alarming number considering that the average online commerce in 2017 is loading in 9 seconds and the average loading time across industries is 22 seconds!
Speed is relative
As half of the traffic comes from mobile, these figures reflect loading times from mobiles on a 3G network. Since 2016, Google announced that mobile is first and user experience metrics are now based on mobile performance. So, it makes sense to optimize our websites for best and fast display on mobile.
In this regard, it is important to understand that website loading times vary depending on location and device. For example, devices with higher RAMs load faster, and also 3G network performance around the globe have different standards. Therefore, speed testing is specific and most effective when you consider the worst-case scenario.
As most websites have a global audience, it makes sense to keep the best performance improving the loading time as close as possible to the optimal conversion point of 2 seconds. Remember that websites are not static, so optimization should be a continuous process to be updated with the appearance of new devices and browsers.
SEO and Speed
As marketing is about providing valuable experiences to customers, user experience metrics are indicators of the value for websites. Attracting traffic to our websites would not have meaning if they are not engaged with pages and content.
In this sense, it is essential to understand that marketing is about figures but is not magic. Speeding up your website is an ingredient, but content and usability are important parts of the recipe. It is a good idea to benchmark the websites that appear next to you on Google searches. Check their loading times, as well as their content to have a clear reference of your competitors performance and industry needs.
Study Cases: Speed = Revenue
The relation between speed and revenue is simple: Having a slow website will frustrate possible customers, who will start shopping at another website or stop the shopping experience. Múltiple studies show how loading speed affects user experience, revenue and brand reputation. Some of them show the direct effect on business performance and others the response of people.
For instance, in 2009 Google increased by half a second the loading time of the search result page. The result was a drop in searches up to 0,36% during the period of the experiment. Most recently in 2016, Google partnered with SOASTA to perform one of the most complex studies to correlate customer experience with business metrics. The results show how 1 second delay in mobile load times can impact mobile conversions by up to 20%.
In a similar way, Google also cited a Telefónica as a case, reducing its mobile website loading time from six seconds to only two seconds for 3G connectios. The results was an increase click-through rate by 31%
BMW also brings as a success story, relaunching its mobile site with the highest parameters to reach a loading time near to 1 second. The impact in sales was an increased from 8% to 30%.
Amazon also showed in 2009 how reducing its website loading time by one second could increase their revenue up to 10% equivalent to $1.6 billion in sales each year
In terms of several companies results, Akamai performed research in 2017, analysing data from 17 online retailers, equivalent to billions of beacons (small pieces of tracking code to register user and
The Financial Times Case
The financial Times is another known case, adding 5 seconds to the load time of its entire website. They found that every second of delay is equivalent to 7% decrease in conversions. In other words, improving one second the loading time in a website making $100.000/month, would yield $7.000/month.
In 2014, SingleStone produced a Customer Research Report with interesting insights about the impact of website performance. Exposing 382 users to websites with differences on loading speed, they found a 48% reduction in revenue between the high and poor performing websites.
This is just a small part of the evidence relating speed with improvements in conversion. It is possible also to find a lot of similar studies with metrics like bounce rate, number of visits, customer satisfaction, and so on. Being so clear the need for speeding up websites to improve business variables, it should be a priority for every website owner or manager.
If you are not monitoring your website speed, start by testing your website in Google Test my Site. You will find how is loading time affecting your business. Get proactive and choose any of the multiple alternatives to optimize the performance of your website.
Dartspeed.com is the most complete service to apply Top Notch Frontend Optimizations, making your website load in less than 3 seconds!