Most Irish websites take an average of 10.25 seconds to load fully on a mobile device, well in excess of the magic ‘three second rule’, according to new research from Core, Ireland’s largest marketing communications company.
The industry standard ‘three second rule’ says that websites accessed on mobile devices lose half their visitors if they are left waiting for more than three seconds.
Core monitored 100 Irish websites across a variety of sectors including automotive, banking, insurance, media, grocery retail and telecoms to see how long it took for the home page of each website to fully load on a mobile device.
The average was 10.25 seconds, three and a half times longer than the suggested three second mark. The best performing category were grocery retailers, with an average page load time of 7.4 seconds, while the slowest category was the media industry at 24.4 seconds.
With searches performed on mobile devices increasing significantly year-on-year, a slow loading mobile website can seriously weaken potential for return on investment, while also resulting in an unsatisfactory customer experience.
Searching on a mobile device is the new normal, substantiated by the fact that Google’s revenue for the second quarter of 2018 is up 26% on the previous year, with mobile search fuelling this growth. Despite not everyone having access to high speed broadband across the country, Irish mobile users have high expectations when they are online. If loading speed is slow, they will simply move to another website that doesn’t make them wait.
Aisling Blake, Chief Digital Officer of Core, says: “With 64% of Irish people accessing search engines via a mobile device at least weekly and 16% purchasing products or services at least weekly on their smartphone (Source: Statista, July 2017), one could rightly assume most Irish brands and companies have their website speed sorted. This is simply not the case.”
“Based on the ‘three second rule’, even the best performing group are typically losing over half their mobile site visitors. With over half of the visitors to the websites we examined coming through mobile devices, this puts even more context on the size of the problem.”
“Recent changes by Google is set to put even more pressure on brand owners to get their mobile experience right. In the past, the search engine used the desktop version of a website in its results pages. From March of this year, however, they started using the mobile version of a website instead. This means that if your mobile website experience is poor, smartphone owners who use Google to find your website will not see the best of your brand.”
“Furthermore, from now on, if your webpages are slow to load on mobile, they will be ranked much lower in Google’s results, potentially giving priority to your competitors. It’s, therefore, essential for Irish brands to understand this problem and take the necessary steps to avoid this issue in the future.”
Once a brand is aware that their website speed is not up to par, there are several ways to improve it quickly, according to Core:
- Invest in a mobile optimised website
- Consider implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), an open source initiative aimed at creating faster and better-performing websites across all devices
- Reduce the size of images on the site – this can help to improve mobile site speed dramatically
- Eliminate unnecessary code on the site
- Engage with a recognised search engine optimisation specialist