With consumers being introduced to more and more advancements in technologies, their expectations for the performance of these innovations are high. They expect things to work efficiently and quickly. Smartphones and mobile devices have become extremely popular for consumers to search online. Most of these devices are new technologies that they expect to run fast, but they also expect for a website to run just as fast. The speed of a website’s loading time is extremely crucial to the conversion of new consumers. Consumer’s behaviors, spending habits, and opinions are impacted by page load times.
Why Your Load Time Matters
Unbounce conducted two surveys of 750 consumers and 395 marketers, questioning them on a variety of issues from spending habits to advertising priorities. The reports showed that slow loading times did affect the decision made by consumers, but marketers don’t value this as much as they should. Almost half of consumers surveyed claimed that they were less likely to purchase anything on that site if a landing page is too slow. Along with that, a third stated that they were less likely to even return to the site.
Consumers have become extremely impatient. They have been spoiled with what seems like a never-ending cycle of improvements and advancements in the technology they use daily. These slow load times do not fit within these expectations.
Google’s recommended load time is 5 seconds or less, but only 15% of sites tested by Unbounce match this criterion for mobile load times.
This becomes a greater issue when you take into account that Google has made page load speed a factor into mobile ranking in their mobile search results. Due to their slow loading, many marketers are paying more for their search ads while also disappearing from organic search results. Only 3% of marketers list faster load time as a top priority going forward in 2019. Out of the 700 digital marketers surveyed, when asked what an acceptable mobile load time should be, their median answer was 2.8 seconds. This is faster than Google’s recommended 5 seconds.
Marketers seem to be more interested in A/B testing, refining ad targeting, or personalizing their web content. This is not an issue at all. These are extremely important items on their agenda at improving a user’s experience, but it does become an issue when hardly any time is spent improving load time. Google reports that many users back out of a page if it doesn’t load within 3 or 4 seconds. How are consumers expected to see your improvements on your site when it loads slow, and they back out?
According to research done by Neil Patel, a 1-second delay in response time may reduce conversions by 7%. Following this statistic, if an e-commerce site were to make $100,000 a day, then that 1-second delay can cost a site nearly $2.5 million in sales a year.
The dangers of not focusing on a slow load time can add up.
How to Improve Load Times
A good sign for marketers is that many consumers are more likely to blame their ISP, roughly 50%, rather than the site, just over a third, for slow load times. This gives marketers some room to work given that the blame hasn’t been directed towards their sites, but improvements should be made nevertheless. There are a number of tips to improve the speed of your website.
- Run a Speed Audit: If your site is running slow, it’s important to run an audit to understand why your site is loading slowly. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know where the issue lies.
- Optimize Images: The internet is largely visual with images filling up most of the space on the web. However, these images can take up a lot of loading time. To start, avoiding BMP and TIFF files help as well as using JPEGs for photos and PNGs for graphics. For more information, take a look at Google’s best practice for image optimization.
- Reduce Information: It seems like common sense, but the less information your page has to transfer, the faster it will load. Your site may be slowed down with uncompressed files and poorly optimized code. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are lightweight page formats designed purely for mobile with ultimate user experience in mind.
- Trim Down Your Site: If a site is filled with too many images, videos, scripts, and pages, it can bog down a site and really slow it down. It is okay to include visuals and interactive and engaging features, but if it serves no real purpose, it may be best to remove it.
Even though page loading time may not be at the top of most marketer’s list of priorities, it remains an essential part of converting consumers. A site’s load speed is the first thing a consumer meets when visiting a site, so you want to make sure they aren’t turned off by slow load times. Improving a site’s speed is simple to do and will improve your marketing goals.