Mobile Load Time and User Abandonment

September 9, 2016 · by Tammy Everts ·

53% of mobile users abandon sites that take longer than 3 seconds to load; a new study draws on anonymized Google Analytics and DoubleClick AdExchange data (from sites that opt into sharing benchmark data), as well as WebPagetest and user surveys to come to some interesting conclusions.

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.)

Connect 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:

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

That’s because most organizations have isolated departments, using completely different tools to analyze completely different metrics.

It all comes back to digital performance management.

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

I’ve been asked many times how to define digital performance management. 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 set of best practices that allows everyone in the organization to be active members in 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.

For more on digital performance management, check out the Solve Front-End Performance Problems in Real Time With mPulse blog post.

For more on improving the overall performance of your site, check out the Adaptive Acceleration blog post.