Oct 23, 2021 | Updated: 07:19 PM EDT

What Happens When Your Mobile Page Takes +5 Seconds to Load

Jul 10, 2019 04:55 PM EDT

How long do you wait for a mobile page to load? And if you're a marketer or business owner, how long do you think your customers will wait?

5 seconds in the world of mobile browsing can be the difference between a bounce and a conversion. It's the difference between a sign-up and a see-ya, or the difference between a sale and a so-long.

You won't lose all of your traffic after 5 seconds, but it's pretty close. Here's a deeper dive into what exactly happens when you make your mobile customers wait.

1. The User is Annoyed

You worked hard to earn this traffic to your mobile site. Your user was sent here by a well-cultivated and designed a social ad, search result or pay-per-click ad. Don't lose them by making them wait for the next step!

Google's data proves that about half of all mobile users said that waiting is the most annoying part of mobile browsing. So don't make them wait. 

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2. The User Leaves

Every millisecond counts and the difference between taking 2 or 5 seconds to load is massive.

  • 2 seconds gives you an average bounce rate of 9%

  • 5 seconds gives you an average bounce rate of 38%

Further Google data points to conversions dropping by 12% for every second of load time.

3. They Never Come Back

The users came to your page because your company looked promising. But, when you fail to deliver, the users feel betrayed on a very real level and will leave. And they almost never come back, with 79% of shoppers who have trouble with speeds saying they won't return to the site to buy again.

Even worse, their next stop is likely your competition's site. You just handed them a very qualified and buy-ready lead. If the other side closes the deal, they are twice as likely to build brand loyalty, because this site stepped up after you let them down.

4. Google Notices and Punishes You

Google has long since confirmed that speed matters in their ranking algorithm. They have also recently announced that mobile-first indexing is the new norm. Your mobile site is now more important than your desktop.

This means your mobile site's speed is directly tied to your Google ranking, just from an indexing standpoint. However, if Google sees that people are bouncing from your site in 6 seconds and leaving without interacting, they will further punish your SEO ranking.

This series of events will happen every time a user comes to your site and has to wait too long. The would-be customer or fan grows annoyed, they leave you for your competition, perhaps forever, and your SEO ranking drops.

And this doesn't just happen on your home page! Make sure to frequently test and optimize all of your service and product pages for speed! These pages are where the sale should start, and hopefully not where it ends.

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