The Impatience Problem: Exploring the Effect of Loading Speed on Bounce Rate

This is the third article in a series focusing on optimization strategies for landing pages and conversion rates. To explore some of our other articles, click here.

Over the last decade, a new pattern of human behaviour has slowly begun to emerge. People online are growing increasingly impatient and less likely to wait around for a slow loading website. In the span of only a few seconds, a majority of prospects will have already made a decision on whether or not to learn about your product. In previous articles, we have only briefly mentioned the importance of loading time This article will dive deeper into the many ways a page’s loading time could be having a negative effect on your bounce rates, and ultimately, your conversions.

Limiting the “Bounce”

Again, a page’s “bounce rate” is the percentage of visitors that leave almost immediately after clicking the link. This means that they aren’t sticking around long enough to notice all the incredible things that your website has to offer.

One of the top reasons why people may not be staying on your page is the time it takes to load . Stressing the importance of loading speed, a recent study found that when a website’s load time goes from 1 to 3 seconds, the respective bounce rate increases by 32%. And it only gets worse the longer the prospect is waiting. By 5 seconds, your bounce rate is likely to have increased by 90%!

Currently, the average loading time for a website sits at 3.21 seconds. However, even if your landing page meets this average, a site that takes between 3 and 4 seconds to fully load could be suffering from a 24% bounce rate. That’s a quarter of your web traffic giving up on the company just because they couldn’t access the information fast enough. Many marketing experts currently promote a loading speed of under two seconds which, admittedly, is a good time to aim for. But it should still be noted that even a 2 second wait has been linked to a substantial number of bounced sessions at 9.6%.

The Longer They Wait, the Less They Buy

As you might imagine, a page’s bounce rate could be directly affecting the conversion rate. The more time a potential customer has to wait, the more time they have to look elsewhere for what they need. Now more than ever, a slow loading time could be the main obstacle to soaring conversion rates. When it comes to sales, a website’s conversion rate can drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time. Furthermore, a survey conducted in 2019 found that 70% of consumers are less willing to make a purchase on a slow loading website.

Although the average loading time for a website is over 3 seconds long, 1 second or less remains the optimal speed that we should be aiming for to optimize conversions. A website that boasts a loading speed of 1 second, benefits from a conversion rate up to 3 times higher than a site that takes a full 5 seconds!

Load Speed and SEO

We have already discussed how speed can affect a prospect’s likelihood of leaving the website too soon. But what if a slow load time is also limiting the total number of people who ever find the link?

In 2010, Google stated that page speed is a component used in search ranking. In other words, a site’s speed plays a role in how high up the list your website appears in Google’s search results. When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), loading speed could be determining how high up your site appears after an organic search.

Like Google, Facebook has recently followed suit and announced in 2017 that their algorithm will prioritize links that load faster. Thus, faster loading websites are more likely to appear in a user’s NewsFeed. For Facebook, they want to limit the number of slow loading websites because links that take too long to load result in more unsatisfied users. Therefore, if your site is taking too long to load, visitors, prospects, and customers will never even be presented with a link to click.

Still Don’t Forget About the Phones

Just like when it comes to optimizing session duration and other important performance metrics, many companies fail to consider how their page operates on its mobile version. A page’s loading time is no different. That being said, the problem with mobile websites is they often take a lot longer to load. Even worse, studies have shown that site visitors are even more impatient while browsing the web on their mobile devices. Compared to desktop users, those on their phones are far more likely to abandon a session due to a slow loading page.

In 2018, the average loading time for a mobile site was 18 seconds! That’s a long time for prospects to get distracted or explore other options. Not an ideal time to aim for; especially if 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Another reason why optimizing your landing page’s mobile version is so important is because more people every year are switching to their phones as a primary internet access point. In the United States alone, mobile minutes account for 79% of online time.

Start Brainstorming…

Unfortunately, when potential customers are researching online, they just aren’t willing to wait more than a few seconds to reach the information they’re looking for. In order to stay competitive, companies should strive to reduce their loading speed as much as possible. Addressing this problem could be the simple solution to high bounce rates, low conversion, and underperforming mobile pages. To begin addressing some of these issues, check out https://tools.pingdom.com/ to measure how fast your landing page is loading.

Start to think about how these loading times could be shortened and stay tuned for Generation Marketing’s next post which will explore some potential solutions to the problem of slow loading speeds.