Time is money in the fast paced world of the digital age. The online marketplace is a competitive maze as customers now have access to a seemingly endless array of products at the click of a button. Studies have shown that a critical way of converting clicks into customers is improving webpage-loading speed. Here, we’ll look at how something as trivial as three seconds can drastically affect the outcome of a business.
The Evolving Digital Landscape
We must first look at the constant evolution of the Internet in the digital age to gain a better understanding of customer behavior within the context of a user’s online experience. A yearlong study from Speedtest Intelligence, from December 2017 to November 2018, found that there was a considerable increase in the global average download speed.
Mobile download speed and broadband download speed increased by 15% and 26% respectively. It’s now easy to assume, with the annual increase in global download speed, that customers have become impatient with longer loading times. As Internet browsers we are now accustomed to near instant page loading and instant results. We want traffic to move seamlessly. In the next section we will look in detail at the direct correlation between loading time and customer satisfaction.
The Magic Number is…
Three seconds is all it takes for a customer to leave your page. On the face of it, three seconds may seem like a trivial statistic – how could such a small amount of time be of such great consequence? A study by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Akami finds that 47% of customers expect a webpage to load in two seconds or less. Furthermore, 40% of customers will simply abandon the site if loading time reaches the dreaded three second mark. The results suggest that loading speed has a direct impact on revenue.
Slow loading times trigger a domino effect of unhappy customers – even those who are yet to even visit your site! The study also finds that 44% of online customers will tell their friends about a bad online experience. The strategic importance of positive word of mouth can’t be understated enough – we know that customer satisfaction can ultimately make or break a business.
Akami’s research shows a pattern of impatience from customers looking for the smoothest possible experience. However, with increasing download speeds it’s reasonable to understand why.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The importance of page loading can be seen in your website’s physical ranking in a search engine list. Not only are longer page loading times frowned upon by customers – but even Google itself! The search engine behemoth utilizes page-loading time as part of their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) algorithm. As well as producing relevant and up-to-date content, a business must optimize their website speed in order to maximize the number of visitors a website receives and increase traffic.
Google uses site speed as an ranking system which will ultimately place your website higher or lower on the list of relevant searches. User experience is of critical importance to Google; so If your website takes longer to load than your competitor – Google will punish you by ranking your page lower on the list and instead drive traffic to other sites. For example: a responsive website design in Dubai would rank higher than a cheap web design in Dubai. Loading time, as we’ve already stated, has a direct correlation on a business’ revenue:
Faster website → improved user experience → rewarded by Google for better SEO → increased number in page views → increased traffic → increased revenue
The Cost of Slow Page Speed
The acronym ASAP or as-soon-as-possible couldn’t be more apt when discussing page speed in relation to revenue lost or gained. In layman terns: faster websites will make a business more money. So far we’ve discussed the detrimental effect of slow loading speed by looking at customer interaction and Google’s algorithm. Here, we’ll investigate the overall cost that slow loading time will have on a business’ revenue.
Technological company Mobify released an insight report in 2016 outlining the impact mobile website speed has on their customer engagement. Mobify decreased their homepage load speed by 100ms and saw an increase in session based conversion by 1.11%. This resulted in an annual increase in revenue by roughly $376,000.
Furthermore, for every 100ms decrease in checkout load speed, Mobify’s customers saw a 1.55% increase in conversion. This led to an average annual revenue increase of roughly $526,000.
Mobify saw an overall annual increase in revenue by almost $1 000, 000 by increasing the load speed of two critical pages by a mere 100ms. Milliseconds make all the difference; and in this case an extra million dollars.
To conclude, we must reiterate and drive the point home that a business will ultimately suffer from slow loading speed. The modern online customer expects quick results and if made to wait, a business can expect a drop off in customer interaction and poor SEO utilization. These consequences will have a lasting impact on potential revenue.