Alex Painter - 7 February 2019
The web performance world is all about delivering better, faster online experiences. And from the outside, it can all look very technical. It’s niche, specialized. It’s technical people tinkering with code.
But it’s important not to lose sight of the ultimate business goals. Most of the time, we’re helping organizations to make more sales. And that makes it something that marketing departments should care about.
So we thought we’d highlight a few things about web performance that we think every marketer should know.
1 Why web performance matters
For ecommerce sites, this one is easy: faster websites make more money. There are a number of well-publicized case studies that highlight the link between page load time and key metrics such as conversion and bounce rate. For example, COOK cut average page load time by less than a second and saw a seven per cent increase in conversion rate.
There’s also a link between web performance and search engine optimization (SEO). Google has for some time been using page speed as a ranking signal for search results, and a landing page’s load time affects the quality score for pay-per-click (PPC) ads.
Perhaps harder to pin down is the potential impact of load times on a brand. Slow, unresponsive web pages can give the impression that an organization just doesn’t care about its customers. While it’s harder to measure this kind of impact directly, it is possible to measure the impact of speed on engagement. A recurring pattern in Eggplant’s Real Customer Insights solution is the clear correlation between page load time and session length—the slower a website, the fewer pages people will visit.
Recognizing that performance matters is an important first step, but it’s also one that can highlight limitations within marketing departments. Taking an interest in a website’s speed means touching on areas that traditionally fall outside of the marketer’s remit. While other digital marketing disciplines, such as SEO, have to some extent brought marketers closer to the code that delivers online experiences, delving into web performance takes this a step further. For example, it can require a deeper understanding of how third-party tags are implemented or of the impact of features such as slide shows and social media feeds.
That said, marketers can only be expected to go so far. Even if they learn all the technical detail, they might not have the access they need to make all changes they want. This means that web performance can be a great catalyst to improve collaboration between departments—marketers might be best placed to understand how far they need to improve performance, but IT might be best placed to deliver it.
Ultimately, once they do understand how web performance is affecting the bottom line, marketers are perfectly placed to convince the rest of the business to invest the time, money, and other resources to making their site faster.
Solutions such as Real Customer Insights are partly there to bridge that gap. While technical nuances are there for those who need them, the product is designed primarily to deliver insights that matter to the business, including accurate predictions about how a change in performance will impact conversions, bounce rate, engagement, and revenue.
Learn how to deliver a fast, effective website in our latest ebook, 'Top 10 Image Optimization Tips'.