Improving Page Speed Said Urgent, But Not A Top Priority For Marketers

February 8, 2019

Page speed matters, particularly in an age where consumers spend two-thirds of their time on mobile devices, and smartphones become the most important shopping tool. But almost half of marketers (46%) aren’t satisfied with how fast their website loads on mobile, according to Unbounce’s new survey on page speed.

This lack of satisfaction is causing a sense of urgency, with close to three-quarters (73%) reporting that improving page speed is either somewhat urgent or very urgent.

Previous research has demonstrated that speed is a key factor in improving conversion rates. Akamai (formerly SOASTA) reported that peak load speed for desktop conversion rates is 1.8 seconds. For mobile, the peak load speed for conversion is 2.7 seconds.

For the sample of consumers (n=750) surveyed by Unbounce, it turns out that many (50.5%) blame slow load speed on their internet connection, as opposed to slightly more than one-third (34.2%) blaming the website. Additionally, a lot of consumers are willing to give up certain aspects of a website like animation (56.6%) or video (52.8%) to speed up load times.

The load speed of a website also influences purchase decisions. Some 45.4% of respondents reported that when an e-commerce website loads slower than expected they are less likely to make a purchase, and more than one-third (36.8%) said they were less likely to return to the website. About one-third (32.3%) of consumers say they are willing to wait 4-6 seconds for a website to load.

The marketing respondents to Unbounce’s survey seem to know that this is the case – about 8 in 10 (81%) of marketers said they know that speed has an influence on conversion. But does this mean that load speed is being made a priority in marketing departments across the US?

The simple answer is, no. Surprisingly, the survey revealed that, of the marketers surveyed, only 3% said that ensuring faster website loading times was their priority for campaign performance in 2019.

As further proof that page speed does matter. Pingdom reported that 62 of the top 100 e-commerce site homepages had a desktop load speed of 3 seconds or less. Thirty-nine of those sites actually met the best practice load speed of 2 seconds or less.

What Are Marketers Doing About Page Speed?

Although ensuring faster website loading times comes bottom of the list, there are some efforts being made, with around 7 in 10 (72%) stating that they have taken steps to improve page speed in the past year.

The tactics employed in this effort include:

  • Optimizing images, video or other media files (57%);
  • Implementing back-end fixes like improved caching and hosting solutions (43%);
  • Running speed audits using Google Lighthouse or other tools (39%);
  • Minifying or reducing dependence on JavaScript and CSS (38%);
  • Implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in some capacity (22%); and
  • Using a Content Delivery Network (14%).

The Top Priority Is A/B Testing

While not mutually exclusive from improving faster website loading times, the most commonly cited priority for 2019 is A/B testing or optimizing pages (33%). Arguably, this is more of a complex and wide-ranging priority.

The fact that this comes top of the list aligns with previous research from RedEye and Econsultancy, which found that A/B testing was the conversion rate optimization (CRO) method most often used by marketers. It’s also an approach more likely to be used by those types of marketers that McKinsey describes as ‘integrators’ – those that blend creativity with data-driven insights to improve performance, achieving above-average growth rates as a result.

To read more, find the Unbounce report here.

About the Data: Unbounce’s Think Fast: The 2019 Page Speed Report Stats & Trends for Marketers is based on a survey of 395 marketers across various industries, 40% of whom work for a company with at least 50 employees. Consumer data is based includes insights from 750 US consumers ages 18-65+.

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