Imagine this: You’re browsing the internet on your phone, doing whatever it is you do on the internet. As you’re browsing, you find a page that catches your interest, which isn’t an easy thing to do, because attention spans!
You click to navigate to the page. When you do, the page begins to load and you sit and wait, giddy with excitement over the untold knowledge that you may find on that page. However, you notice that the page isn’t loading. Well, that isn’t exactly right…it is loading, just incredibly slowly. This frustrates and disenchants you, which causes you to hit the back button and leave the page, going back to your semi-mindless scrolling and browsing. The cabal secrets of that page will forever remain a mystery to you.
I know we’ve all had an experience or two or ten like this in our lives. In today’s world where we not only seek out but almost demand and expect instant gratification, slow page load times can seem like a special form of torture. Many times, we the user view slow page load times as a sign that the page is broken (though more often than not, that isn’t actually the case) or simply not worth our precious time to wait around for it to load.
Think about that for a second…a slow page load time often leads to users bouncing from the page before they even see it! Now, from the perspective of an advertiser, that thought alone is rather disturbing. Think about how many people click on your ad (meaning we’ve now paid for that click) and never truly even make it to the page. We’re throwing away money at that point. Big yikes!
So, where am I going with this post? No, this isn’t my thought piece about how we as a society have an addiction to instant gratification and how that’s changed the world, we live in. I’m going to talk about why it’s important to have a fast (or rather, relatively fast) page load time and how to do so!
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) pages!
What Are AMP Pages?
According to the ampproject.org, “AMP is an open-source library that provides a straightforward way to create web pages that are compelling, smooth, and load near instantaneously. AMP pages are just web pages that you can link to and are controlled by you.” AMP pages work to make your pages faster in a variety of ways, but the easiest (and definitely overly simplified) way of describing it is to say that AMP pages are pages with “diet code” on the back-end. Rather than having a page load all at once, AMP forces pages, and everything on that page, to load in a prioritized, asynchronous way.
For example, AMP pages prioritize resource loading. Ampproject states, “Images and ads are only downloaded if they are likely to be seen by the user, above the fold, or if the user is likely to quickly scroll to them.” This is opposed to the normal way a page loads, which is all at once and is often the reason many pages take several seconds, if not longer, to fully load. That’s only one of the many ways AMP speeds pages up. It’s simply far more efficient.
I can’t do justice to just how impressive AMP pages are, so I highly encourage you to visit their site and do some reading about what exactly AMP pages are. AMP has benefits for many, besides just advertisers.
Why You Need AMP Pages
Circling back to something about instant gratification, users want everything fast, especially web pages. Again, according to ampproject, “Conversions fall by 12% for every extra second a webpage takes to load.”
While that stat may be overly general, it is 100% true that conversions and engagement fall exponentially for every extra second it takes the page to load. You might sit here and think to yourself, “our page loads in around 4 seconds…that’s not all that bad!”, but if the average load time is 2 seconds, then your page is suffering a 24% loss in conversions for those extra 2 seconds. Again, yikes! I would urge you, if you take nothing else away from this article, to take a look at your site’s average load time. I’d be willing to bet it’s slower than you think and could be the difference between you hitting your monthly KPIs or not.
Outside of the web page itself, you can use AMPHTML for your display ads, allowing them to load faster and do what it is that they’re meant to do: deliver value (duh). YoY, these AMP display ads have grown significantly and we, as advertisers, should expect this trend to continue. Time to adapt!
Lastly, Google itself takes your site speed into consideration when it comes to “Landing Page Experience”, one of the quality score metrics. If you’re ignoring your site speed, you’re potentially lowering your organic rankings and costing yourself more money in paid search due to a lower quality score.
In conclusion, it’s time to speed up your mobile pages. No longer can you consider a site with a several second page load time to be “good enough”. In our industry, AMP adoption isn’t all that widespread yet. Get after that first-mover advantage and upgrade your pages to AMP!