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Mobile marketing: it’s not enough to be good, you need to be fast

While there is no doubting that quality should be of paramount concern when it comes to your brand’s website, the age of mobile marketing is making speed an area of particular concern

A recent report published by Google’s DoubleClick calculated that the average load time for a mobile site was (as of September 2016) 19 seconds via a 3G connection.

53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load

– DoubleClick

When you consider the marked difference between the former figure and the latter, it paints a particularly poor picture for the chances of many brands to succeed on mobile devices.

The study also showed that sites loading in 5 seconds (vs those loading in 19) enjoyed:

  • 25% higher ad viewability
  • 70% longer average session
  • 35% lower bounce rates
  • Up to 200% more mobile ad revenue

How to reduce the load time of a site

There are several methods of reducing load times on mobile all of which are more-or-less common sense, but (perhaps even because of their apparent obviousness) are often overlooked.

Use JavaScript sparingly or strategically

Depending on your brand’s industry or sector, the type of landing page your consumers will arrive at will differ substantially. However, it is almost always possible to reduce the amount of JavaScript – there will be colour shifts, rollover, on-scroll or other animations which, though nice, do little for the user, these can be stripped from mobile landing pages (though they are perfectly acceptable on pages deeper in your site structure – pages reached later in a session or by returning visitors).

Use fewer fonts

As with JavaScript, there will likely be fonts that are there for presentation purposes alone, all of which take valuable fractions of seconds to summon forth (looked up, retrieved and rendered). By restricting the number of fonts used to the minimum required, you may not shave seconds off the load time, but every little helps.

Reduce the file size of images

While your code may predefine the size of the image as it appears on your site, it is often the case that people use oversized images – these, of course, take longer to load. Try to ensure you are resizing images using editing tools prior to upload and use lighter-weight file types such as JPEG and PNG.

Consider reordering element load order and async

This is probably the hardest and fiddliest of all the speed improving tips, but potentially one of the biggest gains. Thankfully there is a fantastic blog here which offers a great overview of some tricks you can employ with perceived and window load times to get the most out of your page.

Some helpful tools

The following are some useful tools to help improve the speed of your site:

Chrome DevTools: Evaluates your website performance, simulates network and CPU speeds, can examine network loading details and see how your site’s code affecting performance.

Google Analytics (GA): Site Speed reports in GA show how quickly users are able to see and interact with content.

Mobile-Friendly Test: Speed is just one of the factors taken into account on this tool which will give you a yes or no answer as to the mobile friendliness of your site.

Page Speed Insights: A tool measuring web page performance before giving a ‘Page Speed Score’ indicative of how the page is performing and offering suggestions to improve performance.

WebPageTest: Tests from multiple world-wide locations and browsers, this tool uses genuine connection speeds to provide resource loading waterfall charts, page speed optimisation and possible improvements.

With mobile user expectations unlikely to become less demanding, brands are really going to have to up their game in order to capitalise on a rapidly growing, increasingly important section of online consumers. Keep an eye out for our upcoming Mobile SEO Cheat Sheet which will give you nine further tips to help you succeed with your mobile marketing.

Click Consult is an award-winning search marketing agency with a need for speed. Want to take the fast track to mobile marketing success? Contact us today!

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