(Lack of) speed kills…mobile.
That’s right. A slowly responding mobile site or app will send visitors rocketing off to a faster destination.
Speed kills on the highway but on the information superhighway – particularly the all-important mobile lanes – it is sluggishness that will kill your digital marketing effort.
“The average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds, according to a new analysis,” explains Google. “Yet 53% of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. That’s a big problem.”
Um…yea, a big problem.
It’s a big problem because 53 percent of us internet users now use our smartphones as our primary on-ramp to the internet, according to the latest figures from GlobalWorldIndex.
“Over the course of 2016, smartphones not only overtook PCs/ laptops to be the top device on this measure, but experienced an 18 percentage-point increase – giving us yet more context for the ongoing migration of many internet activities from desktops and laptops towards mobiles,” reports GWI.
“Moreover, while the smartphone’s status as the most important internet device might be strongest among the predominantly young and mobile-engaged online populations of fast-growth markets, we are seeing figures rise in all the markets where GWI conducts research.”
The bottom line: if you ain’t movin’ fast on mobile you’re backin’ up!!
“It’s no secret that shoppers expect a fast mobile experience,” says Google. “If there’s too much friction, they’ll abandon their cart and move on. Today, it’s critical that marketers design fast web experiences across all industry sectors. Consumers want to quickly pay bills on finance sites, get rapid results when they’re browsing vacation reviews, and view an article immediately when they click through.”
And despite the fact that more internet traffic is generated today on mobile devices, Google points out the conversion rate – consumers actually completing any kind of transaction or clicking through to a destination – is actually lower on mobile than on desktop. Our patience is lower on mobile because we expect the mobile experience to be fast.
Google says its January analysis of landing pages linked to Google ads – an analysis which extended to 900,000 mobile ads across 126 nations – found most sites (landing pages) to which consumers were directed by the ads loaded too slowly to do the digital marketeers any good. Visitors moved on.
“For 70% of the pages we analyzed, it took nearly seven seconds for the visual content above the fold to display on the screen, and it took more than 10 seconds to fully load all visual content above and below the fold,” said Google.
“Recently, we trained a deep neural network—a computer system modeled on the human brain and nervous system—with a large set of bounce rate and conversions data. The neural net, which had a 90% prediction accuracy, found that as page load time goes from one second to seven seconds, the probability of a mobile site visitor bouncing increases 113%. Similarly, as the number of elements—text, titles, images—on a page goes from 400 to 6,000, the probability of conversion drops 95%.”
Google also discovered one reason contributing to the sluggish behavior of mobile sites is the size of those sites. The research found 70 percent the landing pages it checked were larger than 1 megabit.
If a site contains too much data it’s not going to load quickly.
Google correctly suggests simply compressing images and content could save more than 250 kilobytes on an average page.
You can test the speed of your site at Google’s Test My Site page.
Google announced back in early November its web crawler – or spider – would soon start scanning your website as if it’s a smartphone. If, by looking at your site as a smartphone, the Googlebot doesn’t like what it sees your rank in search results will drop significantly. This isn’t happening overnight and Google will for a while yet continue to rank desktop-only sites in search results but those days are numbered and some time in the very near future they will disappear altogether.
And, yes, having a good – useful and functional – website is still essential to successful digital marketing. And, yes, as Google continues rolling out its mobile-first indexing you site should be useful on smartphones.
To say the internet is mobile may, at this point, seem obvious if not redundant.
But it remains a point to be made over and over until we all begin to realize we’ve really long ago left the friendly confines of a desktop computer tethered to land connections and, rather, started roaming expansively across the world linked to the Interwebz by the mobile devices affixed to our belts or stuffed into pockets and purses..
One must think mobile today, if one is going to succeed online (however success measured for individual companies or organizations).
The bottom line here for businesses and organizations, digital marketeers is we must also adapt to the new realities.
It means, simply put: Go Mobile or Go home. And when you go mobile go quickly!