Google has unveiled two new mobile web performance benchmarking tools for retailers and other companies — a speed scorecard to help companies compare their site performance to others, and a calculator to help them figure out the impact of slow site speed on conversions and revenue.
The tools, announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, use data from Google's Chrome User Experience Report, which includes site latency metrics collected from thousands of websites in 12 countries, according to a Search Engine Land report.
In 2016, Google released a study which found that more than half of mobile users abandon a website that takes longer than three seconds to fully load.
There are a lot of different variables that play into what brings users to a website and keeps them there, and still many more that can have an effect on whether or not a customer completes a purchase on the website of a retailer or brand.
But, in announcing these new tools, Google rightly pointed out that the amount of time it takes a site to load is the most important factor. In the past, the web giant has even said that for each second of delay in the loading of a web page, a retailer's conversions can decline by up to 20%. It's safe to say that if a web page fails to load, or doesn't load fast enough for the customer's liking, no other variables matter.
The issue of site performance is almost as old as the Internet itself, but the issue of site load time for mobile users has become an especially critical one recently for retailer and brand marketers. A rapidly increasing percentage of e-commerce sales are happening on mobile, but site performance for mobile hasn't been improving in kind.
Google isn't the only one that has noticed. Last summer, Retail Systems Research stated that the average e-commerce site took 9.5 seconds to load on mobile, long after many would-be customers would have thrown in the towel, according to Google.
This isn't to suggest retailers aren't doing anything to improve site performance. In an effort to capture more of that growing mobile commerce pie, many companies are adding more features and functions, as well as more inventory to their sites. Those efforts might have taken priority over basic site performance.
Google's tools could change that. The scoreboard allows companies to see their performance compared to that of others, namely their competitors, and the calculator can show them how much they stand to lose to those competitors by not trying harder to improve site performance, which could be the catalyst retailers need to make it a priority.