Mobile Page Speed should be your number one priority in 2017. People use their mobile devices to shop more than ever before. But the average mobile retail site doesn’t live up to expectations — leading brands will lose customers and sales. To find out which factors lead to mobile site under performance, Google partnered with SOASTA, a leading analytics company.
Test your site now for Mobile Page Speed
- Complete the Mobile-Friendly test here search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly
- Check your website speed here tools.pingdom.com
There’s no doubt about it: Shoppers expect brands to deliver fast, frictionless mobile page speed experiences. And those expectations keep rising as more and more shoppers rely on mobile in their micro-moments. Unfortunately, the reality is that many mobile sites are falling short.
Consider this: Mobile sites lag behind desktop sites in key engagement metrics such as average time on site, pages per visit, and bounce rate. For retailers, this can be especially costly since 30% of all online shopping purchases now happen on mobile phones. The average U.S. retail mobile site loaded in 6.9 seconds in July 2016, but, according to the most recent data, 40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. And 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with site performance say they’re less likely to purchase from the same site again.
For marketers, the good news is: You don’t have to be a developer to help improve your brand’s mobile site speed. By learning more about how your campaign or content impacts site performance, you can work with your brand’s site owners to solve any issues ahead of time—ensuring your efforts reach their full potential.
A new way to learn about site performance
We know that the speed of a mobile site can win—or lose—a shopper. To find out more about the nuances of mobile site performance, we partnered with SOASTA, a leading performance and analytics company. Rather than rely on old-school research methods, we used machine learning—an approach that uses an algorithm to identify correlations within a large data set to then make predictions for new data sets. We built two machine-learning models: one for predicting conversions and one for predicting bounce rates. Each model used real-world data from a large sample of mobile e-commerce sites, correlating the impact of 93 different page metrics from image formats to number of scripts. Simply put, the two models looked for which mobile-site factors would lead shoppers to buy or bounce. The conversion model had a prediction accuracy of 93%, and the bounce model was even more accurate, at 96%. Here are the most important findings from both models—and how you and your dev team can use the models yourselves to learn more about your own site’s performance.
More complex pages can hurt conversion rates
What we found here seems relatively straightforward: Shoppers are less likely to convert on clunky, complex site pages. But let’s really dive into what “complex” means, by looking at the top page attributes that hurt conversion: number of elements on the page and the number of images.
For fast Mobile Page Speed, optimise all image sizes and limit to 2 maximum
1. The number of page elements. The more elements on a page, the greater the page’s weight and complexity. A typical web page today weighs 2,486KB and contains a hundred or so assets hosted on dozens of different servers. Many of these assets are unoptimized, unmeasured, and unmonitored—and therefore unpredictable. This makes page loads volatile.
We found that the number of elements on a page was the greatest predictor of conversions. And when we looked at entire sessions, pages that had more images and other elements led to fewer conversions. The culprit might be the cumulative performance impact of all those page elements.
Takeaway: As a site owner, you can tackle this problem by setting performance budgets for pages. This means, for example, you could decide you want your site to load within three seconds (the “budget” of each page). Using that benchmark, you can cull unnecessary page elements that cause the load time to exceed that limit. You can also audit and monitor all the third-party scripts on your site that affect load times.
2. The number of images. In our research, we found that the number of images on a page was the second greatest predictor of conversions. Consider this: On a typical retail page, graphic elements such as favicons, logos, and product images can easily comprise up to two-thirds (in other words, hundreds of kilobytes) of a page’s total weight. The result: cumulatively slow page loads throughout a session. In fact, we found sessions that converted users had 38% fewer images than sessions that didn’t convert.
Takeaway: To make sure that your mobile page speed loads as fast as possible, confirm that your images are formatted correctly. For example, saving a simple graphic as a JPEG rather than a PNG can cut its file size by more than half. Images should also be compressed and resized. There are advanced optimization techniques for those who want to squeeze as much performance juice from their images as possible.
Slow mobile pages can increase bounces
For bounce rate, which measures the percentage of people that leave your mobile site without exploring beyond the first page, speed has the most impact. But in the world of site performance, speed has many faces. Let’s look at the top two site attributes that impact bounce rates: DOM ready time (we’ll explain in a moment) and full-page load time.
Read the full article here https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/mobile-page-speed-load-time.html
What Marketers Need to Know about Google’s Mobile Algorithm Update
In February 2015, Google announced an important natural algorithm update that affects SEO and how sites will be ranked in the mobile results, which may significantly impact brands’ site traffic. Starting April 21 2015, pages that are deemed not “mobile-friendly” may witness their rankings downgraded in mobile searches, resulting in less traffic from mobile devices. This latest round of changes will be limited only to Google’s mobile search results rankings on a page-by-page basis.
With mobile searches now over 50 percent in 2016 of all search traffic – and with 70+ percent of in-store shoppers using smartphones for research – an immediate question is raised: Are your website’s pages ready today?
While there are tools marketers can use to test the “mobile-friendliness” of their pages, the following reviews why Google is making these changes and the potential impact of them on websites today and in the future.
Why is Google Changing Its Mobile Ranking Algorithm?
According to a member of Google’s Webmaster Relations Team, “[Google is] always trying to give users the results that they like, and it turns out that users like it when they have a good experience on their device.”
What constitutes a good experience on a user’s device? According to Google’s guidelines, this is a mobile-friendly page that abides by the following criteria:
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
- Uses text that is readable without zooming
- Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
- Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
Test your site now!
- Complete the Mobile-Friendly test here https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly
- Check your website speed here https://tools.pingdom.com/