The Performance Beacon

The web performance, analytics, and optimization blog

Google: 53% of mobile users abandon sites that take longer than 3 seconds to load

mobile bounce rate due to slow loading time

It’s always an exciting day when Google releases new web performance research. A new report — The need for mobile speed — from DoubleClick (the Google subsidiary that develops and provides online ad serving services) offers a handy refresh for some key stats around mobile performance — most interestingly, stats around user/business metrics like bounce rate, session length, ad viewability, and revenue.

The study draws on anonymized Google Analytics and DoubleClick AdExchange data (from sites that opt in to sharing benchmark data), as well as WebPagetest and user surveys.

Some of the key findings include:

  • 46% of consumers say that waiting for pages to load is their least favorite thing about shopping via mobile.
  • Average load time for mobile sites is 19 seconds over 3G .
  • 53% of visits to mobile sites are abandoned after 3 seconds. (This corresponds to research we did at SOASTA last year, where we found that the sweet spot for mobile load times was 2 seconds.)
  • Comparing faster sites (5 seconds) to slower ones (19 seconds), the faster sites had average session lengths that were 70% longer and bounce rates that were 35% lower.
  • Mobile sites that loaded in 5 seconds earned almost double the revenue of sites that took 19 seconds to load.
  • Almost half of all server requests came from ad-related calls. (Important to know, as unoptimized third-party resources, such as ads, can delay or block your page from rendering.)

Connecting the dots between IT, UX and business

More page views happen on mobile than on desktop, which means if you’re not making your mobile visitors happy, you’re disappointing the majority of people who come to your site. Google’s latest research draws a clear line between performance and key metrics like bounce rate, ad viewability, and revenue. It also shows that many sites are falling short of user expectations.

What I really appreciate about this research is that it looks at performance from three important perspectives: user experience, IT metrics, and business value. In an ideal world, for most organizations these metrics would fall into a tidy Venn diagram that looks like this:

Venn diagram: intersection of web performance with business, IT and UX metrics

But in actuality, for most organizations, it looks more like this*:

Venn diagram: organizational siloes = poor web performance management

That’s because most organizations are siloed, using completely different tools to analyze completely different metrics.

It all comes back to digital performance management

This Google research does a good job of beginning to tell a digital performance management story. Our industry needs more stories like this. But before we can tell more stories, we need to agree on what kind of story we’re telling.

I’ve been asked many times how to define “digital performance management” (aka DPM). It’s a good question. Here’s how I answer it:

Digital performance management isn’t just a trending industry buzz phrase. Nor is it merely a vague philosophy. Rather, DPM is a process and set of best practices that allows everyone in the organization to be active members of a culture of performance, using tools that speak to each other, adopting a shared performance vocabulary, and having visibility into how the metrics they care about affect the rest of the business.

At SOASTA, we have some upcoming DPM stories that I’m excited about sharing. Stay tuned.

*Yes, I drew these myself. I’m having a too-busy-for-Photoshop day.

In the meantime…

Click to download the whitepaper: Steering the enterprise with digital performance management

Tammy Everts

About the Author

Tammy Everts

Tammy has spent the past two decades obsessed with the many factors that go into creating the best possible user experience. As senior researcher and evangelist at SOASTA, she explores the intersection between web performance, UX, and business metrics. Tammy is a frequent speaker at events including IRCE, Summit, Velocity, and Smashing Conference. She is the author of 'Time Is Money: The Business Value of Web Performance' (O'Reilly, 2016).

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