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The Impact of Mobile Site Speed

The expression ‘speed kills’ is often used about driving, but the same could be said about the load times of mobile websites. Perhaps the outcome is not quite so drastic, but for a business, a slow mobile site can still have a significant impact on results.

As more online users access the web via a mobile device – and particularly smart phones – the importance of having an effective and relevant mobile site is becoming increasingly important. The mobile user will tend to operate in a different way to a desktop user and potentially have different requirements, so usability, ease of use, clarity and speed of process is vital, whether this is from a responsive site or a standalone site designed specifically for the mobile screen.

Google is now able to provide a number of reports on mobile usability and speed, including a mobile site audit for AdWords advertisers (please ask us if you’d like to receive one of these). Included in the report is illustrative data on the impact of mobile page speed, based on various research which has been conducted on the impact for online businesses.

One example of this data is that a 1 second delay in page load speed can increase bounce rate from a site by just over 8%, meaning that users can’t wait for the page to fully load so hit the back button and probably then jump onto another site option, particularly from search results. That 1-second delay can also decrease the number of page views by just under 10%, and more importantly, decrease conversion rates by 3.5%.

From a business perspective, Google has measured that a 2% slower load time for their search results can impact the volume of searches per user by 2% as well. For Amazon, a 100-millisecond faster page load time can result in a 1% increase in revenue, and presumably vice-versa, which is not an insubstantial issue! Also, importantly from a search perspective, Google will look at the page load speed of websites and use that as one of their ranking factors in mobile search results.

There are a number of online tools to help review page load times, including Google’s Page Speed Insights tool, plus you can also review sample load times in Google Analytics, and hopefully the positive impact after changes are made to the site. Another current trend is the move to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which we will cover in a future issue of this newsletter.

If you’d like to know more about mobile page speed issues and review how your site performs, please get in touch.