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When AMP pages first came bursting in on the mobile search scene, they caused a huge uproar, but now they’re quietly defining our mobile experience. AMP pages were created to help address a problem that was preventing the boom of mobile search – poor mobile customer experience due to page speed. How exactly do mobile page speed, customer experience, and AMP pages fit together? Here’s how, and why AMP pages are essential for your dealership customer experience.
Need a refresher on AMP pages and your dealership website? Check out our recently updated AMP blog post for the newest changes and what it means for you.
Mobile devices are all about convenience. They’re the ultimate in making-our-lives-easier-tech since indoor plumbing and sliced bread. A huge part of the benefit of mobile devices is that they allow us access to information at any time in (almost) any place, and customers are expecting their content to be delivered faster than ever. Mobile use is exploding, but mobile users are speed freaks. In fact, 46% of consumers say that waiting for pages to load is what they dislike the most when browsing the mobile web, and 73% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that was too slow to load.
Okay, so a web page is a little slow. What’s the big deal?
The customer is your reason for existing. Annoying customers with less-than-rapid load times can be all it takes to turn away a potential sale. Shoppers aren’t willing to tolerate a load time that’s more than a few seconds, and they won’t hesitate to abandon a page that can’t keep up. Slow load times are a customer experience problem beyond the immediate deserters. The time it takes a web page to load has huge implications on page bounce rate and on your conversion rate.
Online mobile customer experience begins with the time it takes for a page to load, and for 47% of consumers, that speed is expected to be 2 seconds or less. If that seems impatient, it might surprise you to learn that regardless of expectation, 53% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. That’s an immediate loss of half your mobile website traffic if your mobile pages take over three seconds to fully load. Slow mobile page speed leads to poor customer experience, which in this instance causes people to give up before they’ve even reached your page.
Slow mobile page load speed creates a poor customer experience, and that poor experience can cause issues even after the ultra-impatient have abandoned the page for taking too long. Research from Google found that slow pages can increase bounces. They found that DOM ready time (the time it takes for a page’s HTML code to be received and parsed by a browser) was the greatest predictor of bounce rate. The research also revealed that bounce rates were even higher if the first page had a slower DOM time than the other pages. Not only does that indicate that users are highly unwilling to stay on a mobile site that does not have quick-loading pages, but that if people have a poor initial customer experience due to poor mobile page speed on the first page they visit, they’re more likely to bounce later.
The final toll that poor mobile speed takes on customer experience shouldn’t come as a surprise. Along with abandoned pages and high bounce rate, slow mobile pages can hurt conversion rates. A delay of just one second in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. Speed can also be related to how overburdened some mobile pages have become. In their research, Google found that 70% of pages were over 1MB, 36% over 2MB and 12% over 4MB. That may not seem like much, but it’s pretty huge. For reference, a 1.49MB page takes seven seconds to load using a fast 3G connection. Google also found that the number of elements on a page was the greatest predictor of conversions, and hypothesize that the reason might be the cumulative impact on performance from all these additions. Think of it like trying to hike a mountain. Hauling a 50lb pack is going to make the trip a lot longer than if you were carrying 10lbs.
So, poor mobile website speed leads to poor customer experience, which results in a cascade of unwanted effects and lowered KPIs.
Because what primarily causes a bad mobile customer experience is slow loading time, Google initiated the AMP project to develop stripped-down, fast-loading pages that would be rewarded for the content sacrifice (and enhanced user experience) by getting boosted to the top of the page. These pages, denoted by the now-familiar lightning bolt, are ultra-fast and optimized to be as ‘lightweight’ as possible, hence why all AMP pages have limited design. It’s all about getting the most helpful and relevant information to the customer as quickly as possible.
AMP pages, in essence, bring your customer experience up to the standards of the mobile searcher. These pages were built specifically to solve a mobile problem, and by shifting to utilize AMP pages, a business can communicate to shoppers that they understand their desire for rapidly-delivered information, their expectations of their shopping journey, and the role of their mobile device in that. AMP pages put your speed-optimized content at the top of the mobile Search Results Page (SRP), allowing shoppers almost immediate access to the information they are craving most.
Now, for all the glorious speed-boosting that AMP has done to mobile searching, there is an issue that has been causing its fair share of strife. As with many good things that have issues, this one is caused by the inevitable cheaters. Some companies (and more problematically, malicious entities) have been using AMP pages to drive traffic to their websites by only posting a very small part of the content expected, and requiring the user to click to get to the full-site. This requires the user to go through two full page-loads and a two clicks (if not more), which is exactly what Google does not want users to gave to do, particularly on mobile. Google isn’t waiting for these bad-customer-experience-generating tactics to backfire. In February 2018, Google is implementing rules that will crack down on the cheating.
Increasingly, businesses that focus on customer experience are incorporating AMP pages into their online presence. The eye-catching, click-generating design and spot for content that AMP pages provide are well worth the investment, but the real value is in providing useful content and an excellent mobile customer experience. Beyond the importance of implementing practices to maintain the best possible customer experience, AMP pages are just one small part of a huge shift towards mobile use that will continue to change how businesses and customers interact and engage.