Consumers reward fast-loading mobile web pages with higher levels of engagement, according to a new report published by analytics enterprise Chartbeat. The study also found that Facebook’s Instant Articles (FIA) are significantly faster than Google’s AMP initiative.
Tailoring content for smartphones is now critical for brands, and Chartbeat sought to answer several pertinent questions about the two major mobile formats, including whether better load times have a positive effect on readership revenue, whether they deliver a better user experience and whether they have an impact on consumer engagement.
Chartbeat collected consumer behaviour data from 360 sites using FIA and AMP during the 12-month study that concluded in May 2017. The first takeaway is that both formats are receiving larger shares of traffic on mobile, and the upward trend is set to continue for the foreseeable future.
Both FIA and AMP are also meeting readers’ needs for fast-loading web pages. Almost half of consumers now expect a page to load in less than two seconds, while 40 per cent will abandon a site completely if it takes three seconds or longer, which is obviously hugely detrimental to content creators.
The standard mobile web page loads in just over five seconds, and Chartbeat found that AMP is around four times faster, with a median load time of 1.4 seconds. However, FIA really impresses with a staggering load time of less than a thousandth of a second, and 88 per cent of Instant Articles are so quick that a time could not even be registered.
While FIA leads the race in speed, AMP drives three times the amount of traffic from search engines each day, as it has seen wider levels of adoption from publishers since it launched almost 18 months ago. Overall, this is great news for consumers, as both formats are delivering on their aim of providing a fast, clean and enjoyable experience.
Fast-loading mobile web pages also free up more time for readers to actively engage with what they are reading. The average engagement time for standard mobile web content is just 36 seconds, but Chartbeat data shows that this increases with AMP content to 48 seconds, a 35 per cent improvement.
The report concluded: “There is roughly a ten per cent decrease in conversion rate for every additional second it takes a site to load.