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Why Is Page Speed Is Critical? How to Test and Improve Yours

Most sites lose about half of their visitors due to slow page speed. In fact, the average desktop web page bounce rate is 42%, the average mobile web page bounce rate is 58%, and the average post-click landing page bounce rate ranges from 60 to 90%. Not flattering numbers by any means, especially considering mobile usage continues to grow and it’s getting harder by the day to attract and keep consumer attention.

According to Google, the average page load time for the top landing pagesis still a sluggish 12.8 seconds. This includes places where mobile internet access is prevalent and 4G speeds are some of the highest worldwide. 

That average page speed is way too long, considering 53% of users abandon pages after only 3 seconds — and it only gets worse from there:

Page Speed and Bounce Rates

What is a good page load speed, then? Near-instant

Fortunately, there’s a solution. Before we get to that though, let’s uncover more about the importance of page speed.

Why Page Speed Matters

eMarketer shows that in 2019 global digital ad spending will surpass $316 billion and only looks to increase for the foreseeable future:

Digital Ad Spending from 2017 to 2022

Clearly, brands are spending huge amounts on ads and expecting to get the most out of their budget. But, when people click an ad — and the post-click landing page fails to load instantly — they likely click back within a few seconds, and consequently, advertisers’ budget is wasted.

The cost implications of page speed are enormous and you should absolutely make page speed a priority moving forward. Here are a few metrics and points to consider as you evaluate your own digital advertising campaigns:

Quality Scores

Not only do slow page loads frustrate users, but it also causes Quality Scores to suffer. Since Quality Score is directly related to your ad rank, and ultimately what you could pay for each click, a slow-loading page naturally reduces scores.

Conversion Rates

If fewer people are sticking around waiting for your page to load, fewer people are getting the chance to convert. They’re abandoning your page before even seeing your offer, benefits, call-to-action, etc.

In retail, for example, even a one-second delay in mobile load times can impact conversion rates by up to 20%.

Mobile Experience

Halfway through 2016, mobile web usage passed desktop traffic in volume:

Mobile Surpasses Desktop Views Chart

With consumers spending more time on mobile, marketers and advertisers were (and still are) forced to adapt. One way to deliver mobile-optimized campaigns is to create fast-loading pages.

Which brings us to the #1 page speed solution that addresses each of these issues.

AMP Landing Pages Increase Page Speed

AMP, the open-source framework introduced in 2016, provides a way for advertisers to create lightning-fast, smooth-loading mobile web pages that prioritize the user-experience above all else. 

AMP pages are attractive to advertisers because they deliver near-instantaneous load times, while still supporting some styling and branding customizability. They allow for faster post-click landing page rendering, because they restrict HTML/CSS and JavaScript. Also, unlike traditional mobile pages, AMP pages are automatically cached by Google AMP Cache for faster load times on Google search.

As the leader in post-click optimization, Instapage offers the ability to create post-click landing pages using the AMP framework:

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

With the Instapage AMP builder, marketers and advertisers can:

  • Create AMP post-click landing pages directly from the Instapage platform, without a developer
  • Validate, A/B test, and publish AMP pages to WordPress or a custom domain
  • Deliver better mobile experiences, increase Quality Scores, and drive more conversions
AMP Accelerated Mobile Page Validation
Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) Validation

The revolutionary hearing aid company Eargo has seen incredible results since implementing AMP into its post-click experience:

AMP Landing Pages by Instapage

AMP Landing Pages with Instapage

In addition to building AMP pages with Instapage, there are several other ways you can improve page speed. Here are three of them to get you started.

3 Other ways to Improve Page Speed

1. Leverage page speed tools

PageSpeed Insights is Google’s speed test that scores your page from 0 to 100 points:

pagespeed insights

Scoring is based on two parameters:

  1. Time to above-the-fold load (the total time for a page to display content above the fold after a user requests a new page)
  2. Time to full-page load (the time it takes a browser to fully render a page after a user requests it)

The higher the your score, the more optimized your page is. As a rule of thumb, anything above 85 indicates that your page is performing well. Lower than 85 and you should look at the suggestions provided by Google to raise your score.

PageSpeed Insights provides reports for both the desktop and mobile versions of your page, and also offers recommendations for improvements.

Think with Google: Test My Site, launched by the PageSpeed Insights team, only tests mobile page speeds, as opposed to both mobile and desktop. It’s another indicator of how fast (or slow) your pages load:

think with google test my site

This tool displays your loading time, provides custom recommendations to speed up each page on your site, and then offers the option to generate a full report.

2. Fully Optimized Images (Compression)

Optimizing images with compression, resizing, reformatting, etc. can help save bytes, speed up page load time, and improve mobile site performance. Among other top recommendations, Google says to remove unnecessary high-res images and GIFs and substitute images with text or CSS whenever possible. 

Furthermore, it’s now easier than ever to serve compressed and resized images because these settings can be automated. For instance, you could have hundreds of images resized and compressed automatically with a script, reducing manual work (when building AMP pages, custom image tags make many of these same optimizations automatic).

Choosing an optimal image format can be difficult with so many options available. It all depends on the use case, but here are some of the most common:

  • WebP: Photographic and translucent images
  • JPEG: Photos with no transparency
  • PNG: Transparent backgrounds
  • SVG: Scalable icons and shapes

Google recommends starting with WebP because it allows 30% more compression than JPEG, without any loss of image quality.

3. Prioritize above-the-fold content

Improving your user’s perception of site speed is nearly as important as improving site speed itself. That’s why once your images are optimized, you must ensure they’re delivered at the exact right moment.

Consider this: On a mobile device, the visible portion of the site is limited to a small area, above the fold. As a result, you have an opportunity to quickly load the content in that area, while the other elements below the fold download in the background.

Note: What helps make AMP unique is that it has built-in prioritized resource loading, ensuring that only the most important resources are downloaded first.

It can be a challenge to reduce the number of images on a site — especially for retail brands, for example, with many products — but it’s still critical to at least minimize the impact of images on load time with these three tactics. 

Increase your page speed with AMP

If your mobile pages are suffering from high bounce rates and low conversion rates because of slow page load speed, AMP pages could be your saving grace.

Start creating post-click AMP pages to deliver fast, optimized, and relevant mobile browsing experiences to your visitors, and improve your Quality Scores and conversions in the process.

Tyson Quick

Tyson Quick is the Founder and CEO of Instapage, the leader in post-click optimization. He founded Instapage in 2012 after seeing how performance and growth marketers were losing money in underperforming advertising campaigns. Since then his vision has been to create a suite of post-click optimization products that maximize returns through advertising personalization.

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