Page Speed and Decreased Conversion Rates: 2019 Statistics

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Craig Smith  |  Founder & CEO

How much of a priority is page speed within your organization? If you’re like most companies, you want a fast website, but you also have a whole other list of projects clogging up your backlog. However, you may want to bump your page speed improvements up your priority list. Your site visitors are significantly impacted by your slow website and you have the power to grow your sales by creating a positive experience for them.

Check out the latest statistics, updated for 2019, on page speed and conversion rates so you can see just how unforgiving internet users are when it comes to a slow website.

1. Only 15% of Websites Operate at an Acceptable Page Speed 

At the 2019 CTA Conference in September 2018, the team at Unbounce surveyed almost 200 marketers and tested their websites against Google’s standards with the Test My Site tool. They found that the vast majority of attendees (85%) had sites that took more than five seconds to load – Google’s standard for landing page speed at 3G. The largest group, which was made up of 46% of respondents, owned or managed websites that took between 6-10 seconds to load –  almost double Google’s recommended speed

Image via Unbounce.

Why is this data important? Even if you think your website is up to the suggested page speeds and your users don’t mind how long it takes to load, you are likely behind the curve already. Keep an eye on your site speed and set goals to make improvements to reach Google’s targets.

2. 37% of Visitors Bounce When Your Site Takes Five Seconds to Load

If you think that Google’s demands are unreasonable or unrealistic, then consider the rate at which users bounce when they land on your website.

According to Pingdom, your users actually hold your website to a higher standard than Google. This data is pulled from a selection of eCcommerce websites to see how long customers are willing to wait for a site to load before they bounce. While bounce rates hovered below 10% for websites that took less than three seconds to load, the number jumped up to 24% for a four-second load time and 38% for a five-second load time.

Image via Pingdom.

If you’re not meeting Google’s required page speed recommendations, then you could be losing half of your audience before your page even loads. That’s a drain on your marketing efforts and a drag on your business.

3. 70% of Customers Say Site Speed Impacts their Purchasing Decisions 

Along with looking at data that tracks actual user behavior, you can also turn to customers to understand the correlation between page speed and conversion rates. Data shared by Search Engine Journal via Unbounce found that almost 70% of customers (out of 750 surveyed) believe that a slow website negatively affects their decision to buy.

Even if your customers stick with your website despite its slow nature, your brand already has a negative strike against it. Further problems could lead to additional bounces as customers decide to buy your products on a competitor’s website that offers a better experience. This drops your current conversion rate and makes it harder to win over customers again in the future.

4. A One-Second Delay Results in a 7% Drop in Conversions

How much will a slow page speed reduce your conversion rate? No matter your size, the answer is a lot. According to data shared by Small SEO Tools and Strangeloop, a one-second delay in page load time will drop your conversion rate by 7%. This means that if your website drives $100,000 per day in sales, you could lose $2.5 million per year in lost conversions.

If your website is having problems and loading slowly one day, your customers will notice it immediately and your sales will take a hit. Retail giants like Amazon, Walmart, and Target have all reported how slowdowns in the milliseconds have lowered their conversion rates and cost them millions in eCommerce sales. As we have seen earlier, your customers are not patient and they are not forgiving. If your site is slow, they will not buy.

5. Three of the Top Four SEO UX Signals are Page Speed Dependent 

While brand managers certainly care about the user experience, many also want to reap the SEO benefits that come with a fast website. In summer 2018, Google started making mobile speed a ranking factor for SEO. A year later, we can see exactly how much weight Google puts on site speed – even if the search giant won’t come out directly and say it. 

In an article for Social Media Explorer, Adam Torkildson highlighted how three out of the top four factors for Google rankings fall under the category of UX (user experience) signals. These UX signals are forward-facing criteria that dictate customer behavior, as opposed to back-end improvements like backlinks and metadata. The key UX signals that tie to site speed are time on site, pages per session, and bounce rate. 

SEO speed ranking factors
Image via Social Media Explorer.

We have already seen how bounce rate is affected by a slow website, and similar logic can be applied to the other two factors. If your users aren’t enjoying your website experience, they aren’t going to convert and they are instead going to rush through your pages so they can leave sooner. Higher bounce rates decrease the average time on site and the number of pages viewed. 

Not only will a slow website lower your immediate conversion rate, but it will also limit your overall conversions in the future by hampering your organic search rankings. 

Similar criteria are also used in Google’s paid search factors, so your Adwords efforts will also likely suffer because of slow site speed. You will have to pay more to get placed higher, resulting in a lower ROI. 

6. Most Websites Are Bigger Than They Need to Be

Many of the solutions developed to speed up your website aren’t necessarily complex. In fact, one of the biggest factors to consider when you want a faster website is its size. According to Mach Metrics, the average website size is 1.88 MB even though the average recommended size is under 500 KB.

Size is one of the biggest factors when it comes to speed; however, few websites are willing to make serious changes to reduce or adjust their content to accommodate it. Many websites are slow simply because they have pages upon pages of archives dragging them down, along with large images, multiple plugins, and apps that haven’t been updated in years.

7. Compressing Images Could Reduce Your Website Size By Up to 1MB

One of the biggest problems companies with bloated websites have is the size of the images that they post. Large images are bulky. They slow down load speeds and create a worse experience for your customers. By compressing your images, can you make your website nimbler, improving load times.

Google confirmed the size reports by Mach Matrics in a 2018 study: 25% of websites are over 4MB – and 79% are over 1MB. These large websites mostly came from the retail, travel, and healthcare industries. The search giant also found that 25% of these sites could save more than 250KB by compressing images and 10% could save up to 1MB by compressing images. This small act would make your site faster and would also make your brand more competitive in its field.

Large images may be impressive, but you don’t have to sacrifice site speed for a great visual. Compress your images so the style is there, just not the size. 

8. Only 24% of Marketers Think Their Company Monitors Customer Lifetime Value Correctly 

A few customers might be willing to look past a slow website if they really need your products, but that doesn’t mean they are going to return if they can find an alternative. Customers who aren’t happy with your website are going to bounce and find your competitors, limiting your growth and your marketing efforts. 

Returning customers are the lifeblood of your business. They are easier to market to, increasing your overall efficiency, and they spend more per order. In fact, according to Criteo, 81% of business owners said they would be able to grow their sales if they could better track their CLV and work to improve it. 

customer lifetime value
Image via Criteo

Increasing your page speed will improve the customer experience, increasing the chances that your converting customers return time and again, growing your conversion rate and overall sales. 

User Experience Should be at the Forefront of Your Marketing Plan

There are some back-end changes that don’t seem to have a direct, immediate impact on sales. However, your page speed improvement is not one of them. The statistics above point to a direct correlation between a slow website and annoyed customers who bounce and never buy. If your conversion rate isn’t what you expect it should be – then you need site speed audit and a plan for improvement. 

Check out the tools offered by Trinity Insight and reach out to our team to talk about your website.  Let’s develop the plan of attack to increase your conversion rate and maximize your business opportunity.

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