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Web speed

How Fast is Fast Enough?

All of our customers understand the importance of having high quality websites. They work hard to ensure an excellent customer experience and maximum availability. Ensuring fast response times is business as usual for them—but how fast is fast enough?

Most people understand that the economic law of diminishing returns (beyond a certain point, added investments fail to increase profit, production, etc.) also applies to customer experience. Using this, we can now try to calculate the point at which a decrease in web response times no longer results in an improved conversion rate or additional revenue.

Using Catchpoint Glimpse, our real user measurement tool, we can determine exactly how user behavior is changing as response times are increasing.

Web speed and user experience

Here is an example of a site that is currently starting an optimization project. The graph is showing all pages being accessed from all devices and from all across the world for a single day. By plotting the response time against the number of page views we can see that for this site the number of page views is increasing until we reach a response time of 3.2 seconds. Between 3.2 seconds and 5.4 seconds we can see that many customers are tolerating the slowness of the page, though page views are no longer increasing. Once response times go over 5.4 seconds users start to abandon the site.

Using this data for a longer time period and with breakdowns per geography and device type, the customer was able to understand the importance of speed and decided to start using a CDN to make its site faster. The customer has set target response times for the different page categories. The home page has to load in 2 seconds, product pages in 2.5 seconds and all other pages in 3 seconds. These are realistic targets that will have a positive impact on the customer’s business.

The customer can then use synthetic monitoring to ensure that these targets are continuously met, diagnose potential bottlenecks and hold their CDN to their service level agreement.

How fast do you want your site to be? Let us know on LinkedIn.