<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=466594813771579&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">
FULL BLOG

How Load Time Impacts Bounce Rate across Devices: Report Findings

Jack Maden  |  November 16, 2016

Jack Maden  |  November 16, 2016

        

Here on the Decibel Insight content team, we're interested in assessing how various website characteristics impact user behavior. Fortunately for us, having access to Decibel Insight's advanced customer experience analytics platform enables us to do just that.

This is part one of a series in which we summarize the key findings of our extensive data science report on load time. In order to measure load time's impact on user behavior, our data scientists conducted in-depth analysis on 83,828 user sessions from two popular websites over a four-month period. This post will focus on our findings regarding bounce rate.


Definitions

For the purposes of this report, we defined average load time as follows:

  • Average load time: the amount of time each website page takes to load and fully render across the user’s session, taken as an average.

Based on this metric, users were grouped into three classes:

  • Fast loaders: users who experienced an average load time of up to four seconds.
  • Medium loaders: users who experienced an average load time of between four and eight seconds.
  • Slow loaders: users who experienced an average load time of over eight seconds.

These load times were then analyzed in relation to a number of behavioral metrics. In this post, we'll be focusing on bounce rate:

  • Bounce rate: the percentage of users who view only one website page before exiting.

The data is broken down both by website, and by device. 


Website A: Ecommerce

We looked at 64,407 user sessions on this popular ecommerce website. Of those sessions, 28,657 (44%) bounced. The below graph shows how load time impacted bounce rate (%) across all devices.

Website A - ecommerce.png


The data shows that, for the 64,407 user sessions we analyzed on this ecommerce website, average load time has a positive correlation with bounce rate across all devices. In other words, users who experience higher load times have higher bounce rates.

This may seem unsurprising. We all know how frustrating it is to navigate web pages that load at a crawl. The numbers, however, are still rather striking.

Across all devices, slow loaders have a 72% higher bounce rate than fast loaders, and a 38% higher bounce rate than medium loaders. This trend is most pronounced for the 35,763 desktop users: slow desktop loaders have an 83% higher bounce rate than fast loaders, and a 47% higher bounce rate than medium loaders.

Interestingly, those on mobile (24,941 users) and tablet (3,733 users) seem to show more of a tolerance for load times across the fast and medium groups. However, both see significantly higher bounce rates for slow loaders (22% and 28% higher than fast loaders, respectively).


Website B: Travel

We looked at 19,421 user sessions on this travel website. Of those sessions, 7,244 (37%) bounced. The below graph shows how load time impacted bounce rate (%) across all devices.

Website B - travel.png


The data shows that, for the 19,421 user sessions we analyzed on this travel website, average load time has a positive correlation with bounce rate. In other words, users who experience higher load times have higher bounce rates.

As with the ecommerce website, this trend is most pronounced for those on desktop (17,705 users). Slow desktop loaders have an 80% higher bounce rate than fast loaders, and a 20% higher bounce rate than medium loaders.

The 629 users on tablet follow a similar trend. Slow tablet loaders have a 61% higher bounce rate than fast loaders, and a 14% higher bounce rate than medium loaders.

Similarly to the ecommerce site, average load time seems to be less of a significant driver of bounce rate for those on mobile (1,087 users). Slow mobile loaders have a 17% higher bounce rate than fast mobile loaders, and just a 7% higher bounce rate than medium loaders.


Comparison & Conclusion

The below graph compares all data from both websites to reveal overall trends in how average load time impacts bounce rate (%) as a whole.

Website comparison.png

The data shows that, for the 83,828 user sessions we tracked across both websites, average load time has a positive correlation with bounce rate. In other words, for both ecommerce and travel websites and across all devices, users who experience higher load times have a higher bounce rate than users who experience lower load times.

An interesting note for both websites is that average load time for mobile users seems to affect bounce rate to a lesser extent than it does for users of other devices. Overall, however, the two have a significant relationship.

For users on the ecommerce website, slow loaders have a 72% higher bounce rate than fast loaders, and a 38% higher bounce rate than medium loaders.

For users on the travel website, slow loaders have an 80% higher bounce rate than fast loaders, and a 20% higher bounce rate than medium loaders.

In order to drive down bounce rates and ensure users engage with websites beyond the first page they land on, businesses thus need to ensure they keep load times to a minimum.

To delve deeper into the data - and see how load time impacts other behavioral metrics - download your free copy of the full report now, by hitting the banner below.

New Call-to-action

Jack Maden

Written on November 16, 2016 by:

Jack Maden

Jack is Digital Manager at Decibel, the best digital experience intelligence platform around! He also runs philosophy break.

Follow

Stay up to date with all the latest in online customer experience with Decibel's newsletter