More than half of web traffic now comes from mobile devices, yet conversion rates on mobile are still lower than those on other devices. According to a new Google report, this is because mobile pages are simply taking too long to load.
Google’s research, which analysed over 900,000 sites, indicates that the average mobile page takes 22 seconds to load. In 70% of the pages tested, it took a total of over 10 seconds to load all the visual content. This was predominantly because most pages had far too many elements.
Researchers discovered that conversion rates are 95% lower on pages with 6000 elements than they are on those with 400. They also found that if a page took 7 seconds to load, mobile visitors were 113% more likely to bounce than they were on pages which loaded in 1 second. Other figures show that more than half of people will abandon a mobile page which takes over 3 seconds to load. The bottom line is that slow loading times are likely to be driving away businesses’ potential customers and negatively impacting revenue.
Users of mobile sites expect pages to load quickly so they can complete tasks efficiently. Understandably, they quickly become frustrated when it takes too long to place an order, read an article or check their bank balance. Google found that the problem of slow loading times exists in mobile sites across all industries, though there is some variation between them – the technology, automotive, and retail sectors have the slowest-loading and most bloated pages.
But why are loading times so slow? The root cause became obvious when researchers looked at the sheer size of many mobile pages. Even over a good 3G connection, it takes 7 seconds to load just 1.49MB of data – but 36% of pages are over 2MB. Since more than half of people are unwilling to wait longer than 3 seconds for a page to load, these heavily bloated mobile sites are at a huge disadvantage.
Luckily, there are several ways in which loading times can be decreased. According to Google, it is best practice for pages to be under 500KB in size. It advises site owners to compress images and text, which alone can make pages up to 250KB smaller. This is especially relevant to the business, automotive and technology sectors, which are currently the least likely to compress content. The report contains other helpful tips too – for example, it states that pages should be made up of fewer than 50 pieces of individual content. It also recommends using the ‘Test My Site‘ tool, which can be used to assess mobile-friendliness as well as speed.
Read the full report for more information and statistics.