Patience may be a virtue, but nobody—especially customers and mobile device users—wants to practice it. Customers want their devices to move as fast as their desires, and they want the same from their experiences on brands’ websites.
The stakes are high for brands that can’t keep up with these expectations. A majority of consumers say that their irritation grows as load times on mobile websites drag on. Conversion rates on mobile can take a hit of up to 20% from load times delayed by just one second. Mobile users abandon half of all site visits that take longer than three seconds to load; the average load time on mobile, for reference, is 15.3 seconds. Indeed, patience may be a virtue, but it does not a happy customer make.
This doesn’t mean that all hope is lost for brands on mobile. Instead, brands need to give the people what they want and develop mobile websites that don’t keep them waiting—or, worse, send them running. However, a fast mobile experience isn’t something that brands can simply set and forget. It takes careful effort, revision, and improvement to keep a mobile site moving like the wind.
Brands can start the process of improving mobile site speeds by reviewing the elements that might be slowing them down. Images, for example, may be integral to a website’s appeal, but they drastically increase load times on mobile. Identify and remove unnecessary images that bog down load times without providing real value to users, and optimize those that remain by compressing, resizing, and employing the best image formats.
Additionally, a mobile speed budget is an excellent tactic to keep sites light on their feet. This concept encourages brands to determine the maximum amount of time they’ll accept for a site to load—their “budget”—and to revise pages by removing or changing elements until they comply. This may require some hard choices that strike at the balance of speed vs functionality, but users have made clear where they stand on that issue (and what happens if brands don’t oblige).
Technology tools can also aid in the process of improving mobile load times. Accelerated Mobile Pages can enable near instantaneous loading, and once brands feel that they’ve supercharged their mobile sites, they can use Test My Site to check their results and see what steps still lie ahead.