Page load speeds have been said to significantly affect the site experience. In fact, pages that load in less than 1 second significantly outperform those that load in more than 2 seconds in bounce rates, page views, and conversion rates, according to a report [registration page] from Contentsquare.

For the report, Contentsquare analyzed more than 35 billion sessions and 161 billion page views across 2,942 websites from October 2021 through December 2022, focusing its analysis on the Q4 2022 period.

Here are some takeaways from the research.

1. More Than 1 in Every 3 Sessions Encounters Friction

Some 35.6% of sessions face at least one frustration factor, per the report. The most common one is slow page loads, found during 18.1% of sessions. Other points of friction along the journey include rage clicks (6% of sessions), multiple button clicks (5.9%), and multiple use targets (5.3%).

2. Page Load Speeds Impact Bounce Rates, Page Views

For those pages that took less than one second to load, the average bounce rate was 43.5%. However, that figure rose to 49% on average for pages that took more than 2 seconds to load.

Additionally, the number of page views per session dropped from 5.7 when page load speeds were less than 1 second to 4.5 pages for those that loaded in more than 2 seconds. As such “customers exposed to slow page loads view 1 fewer page on average.”

Of note, page load times across industries were about even on desktop (1.34 seconds) and mobile (1.33 seconds). Media websites had the fastest average load times, while Energy, Utilities & Construction websites had the slowest.

3. Mobile Widens Traffic Share Lead

Throughout 2022, mobile’s share of site traffic grew with each passing quarter, rising from 61.5% in Q1 to 64.7% in Q4.

Mobile’s traffic share in Q4 was highest in the Retail (73.5%) and Media (71.1%) categories, and lowest in the Software (25.3%) and Financial Services (38.9%) categories.

Traffic source distribution was fairly even across devices, though paid search was a slightly bigger driver of mobile (17.5% share) than desktop (16.8%) traffic, while Direct traffic was a slightly larger factor on desktop (25.9% share) than mobile (25.2%).

4. Paid Search Traffic Converts Better Than Paid Social Traffic

In comparing share of conversions with share of sessions across marketing channels, Contentsquare reveals that some perform better than others. Direct traffic outperforms, accounting for 25.5% share of conversions against 22.9% share of sessions. Likewise, paid search punches a little above its weight class, contributing 22.3% share of conversions against 21.5% share of sessions.

By contrast, SEO and social underperform. Compared to its 19.3% sessions share, SEO fueled a relatively lower 16% share of conversions. Paid social underwhelms the most, at just 1.5% share of conversions versus 5% of sessions. Organic social also doesn’t convert well, with 0.4% share of conversions against 1.5% share of sessions.

Of note, mobile traffic tends to rely more on paid than organic traffic: 30.5% of mobile traffic in Q4 was paid, while 13.8% share of desktop traffic was paid.

5. Desktop Still Boasts Far Higher Conversion Rates Than Mobile

Across metrics, desktop generally performs better than mobile. In Q4, scroll rates were higher (52% vs. 48%), as were page views per session (4.9 vs. 4.4) and page views per converted session (26 vs. 23). Time spent per session was more than twice as high on desktops (5.6 minutes) as on mobile (2.5 minutes), and the same was true for time spent per page (69 and 34 seconds, respectively).

Not surprisingly, then, desktops maintained higher conversion rates than mobiles throughout the period of analysis, with the gap largest in Q4 2022, when the average conversion rate on desktops (3.44%) was more than 60% higher than on mobile (1.98%).

For more, download the report here.


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