The need for PageSpeed

Case studies and experiments demonstrating the impact of web performance optimization on user experience and business metrics.

Digital Bloom

by Vlad Kuryatnik

What is a PageSpeed and why it matters?

Today, people have high expectations for mobile experiences. Simply loading on a mobile device is no longer enough. To keep people engaged, mobile sites must be fast and relevant.

53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes more than three seconds to load.
Page speed is often confused with “site speed,” which is actually the page speed for a sample of page views on a site. Page speed can be described in either “page load time” (the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page) or “time to first byte” (how long it takes for your browser to receive the first byte of information from the web server). No matter how you measure it, a faster page speed is better. Many people have found that faster pages both rank and convert better.
1 out of 2 people expect a page to load in less than 2 seconds.
Google has indicated site speed (and as a result, page speed) is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages. And research has shown that Google might be specifically measuring time to first byte as when it considers page speed. In addition, a slow page speed means that search engines can crawl fewer pages using their allocated crawl budget, and this could negatively affect your indexation.

Why are mobile sites so slow?

A mobile site is like a backpack — it can be a neat and organized way to carry what you need, so long as you don’t overload it. If you overload your backpack, not only will it weigh you down, but the items in your bag could get wrinkled, bruised or damaged from overcrowding.
77% of mobile sites take longer than 10 seconds to load on 3G networks
The three key factors we’ve found to slow down mobile load times: file size, element order and server requests. The ads, images, videos and measurement technology on a site weigh it down with excess data and requests.
19 seconds is the average load time for mobile sites on 3G networks
The average mobile web page is 2.5MB in size. This means the data alone takes 13 seconds to download on a fast 3G connection. To make mobile sites faster, start by optimizing images (and reducing their size) for mobile screens. Be sure to pare down JavaScript file sizes and minimize the number of fonts on your page.

Faster load times mean more chances for engagement.

There is a correlation between slow mobile sites and high bounce rates. When sites load slowly, users are more likely to abandon the page — every time a user leaves your site, you lose traffic to monetize.
60% greater page-views per visit
Imagine you’re headed to a museum to see the hot new exhibit, and you have a choice between waiting in the longer regular line or the fast-moving VIP line. You’ll want to pick the shorter VIP line, of course. Meanwhile, if the regular line is too long, it might convince you to turn around and go home if it’s your only option.
35% lower bounce rates
It’s the same with mobile speed. Creating a fast and smooth mobile web experience keeps users engaged. Quick sites make people more likely to click through to more pages, reading further to consume more content.

How PageSpeed impacts on Google AdWords Quality Score?

Quality Score is Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of both your keywords and PPC ads. It is used to determine your cost per click (CPC) and multiplied by your maximum bid to determine your ad rank in the ad auction process. Your Quality Score depends on multiple factors, including: 

  • Your click-through rate (CTR). 
  • The relevance of each keyword to its ad group.
  • Landing page quality and relevance.
  • The relevance of your ad text.
  • Your historical AdWords account performance.

By analyzing thousands of accounts, PPC specialists know that Quality Score has a direct correlation on your PPC success. By optimizing your Quality Scores, you’ll be setting yourself up for a higher return on investment (ROI). That’s because higher Quality Scores correlate with a lower cost per conversion! Generally speaking, the higher your Quality Score, the lower your cost per conversion. Remember, a high-Quality Score is Google’s way of saying that your PPC ad meets your potential customers’ needs. The better you are at meeting the prospect’s needs, the less Google will charge you for the ad click.

How Web Performance Optimization impacts on user experience and business metrics?

Furniture retailer Zitmaxx Wonen reduced their typical load time to 3 seconds and saw conversion jump 50.2%. Overall revenue from the mobile site also increased by 98.7%.

Recognizing the role of mobile as a bridge between the online and offline worlds prompted Zitmaxx Wonen to undertake a project to improve the speed and usability of their mobile site. In the past, the brand’s mobile site design and user experience weren’t extensively tested for speed and conversion performance. Because of its dual role as a starting point for both online purchases and physical store visits, Zitmaxx Wonen and Hipex decided to focus first on the site’s homepage. With these improvements in place, Zitmaxx Wonen achieved a maximum score of 100 on PageSpeed Insights, and a load time of 3 seconds on Test My Site – significantly outperforming their category average of 4 seconds. In addition to improving speed and accessibility, key business metrics have also improved since the launch of the updated mobile site: mobile conversion rates are up by 50.2%, while mobile revenue has increased by 98.7%.

COOK increased conversion rate by 7% after cutting the average page load time by 0.85 seconds. Bounce rate also fell by 7% and pages per session increased by 10%.

COOK suspected that slow load times were negatively affecting its business. But it couldn’t prove it. It, therefore, needed a reliable way to measure and analyze its website’s performance. It also needed to understand how performance was influencing customer behavior. Combining insight from Real User Monitoring (RUM) and Synthetic Monitoring, NCC Group helped COOK improve load times by almost a second. RUM was then able to show how this improvement increased conversion rate by 7%, cut the bounce rate by 7%, and increased customer engagement by 10%.

Rebuilding Pinterest pages for performance resulted in a 40% decrease in wait time, a 15% increase in SEO traffic and a 15% increase in conversion rate to signup.

The result of rebuilding Pinterest’s pages for performance led to a 40 percent decrease in Pinner wait time, a 15 percent increase in SEO traffic and a 15 percent increase in conversion rate to signup. Because the traffic and conversion rate increases are multiplicative, this was a huge win in terms of web and app signups. In 2016, this was the biggest user acquisition win. In addition, Pinners with slow internet connections got a significantly better experience.

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People crave speed, and they expect it everywhere. From 4G mobile networks to electric cars and same-day deliveries, our lives are faster and more efficient than ever. As the pace of the world picks up, slow mobile sites will be left behind, losing more and more users and revenue — and brand loyalty. Mobile sites that load quickly benefit users and publishers alike. By assessing your current site, executing a plan and constantly monitoring progress, you can bring your site up to peak mobile speed and earn the trust of a bigger audience.

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