Online dating and page speed – is there an impact on business?

The presentation “Getting page speed into the heads of your organization – a first hand report” () talks about the impact of web page speed and how to get the importance into the heads of your organization.
It also talks about the measured business impact of web page speed onto our online dating business. Those insights might be handy if you’re looking for recent information published in the context of web site performance impact on business. Our BI-team did an analysis of the impact of our performance improvements reported in the referenced presentation. Here’s our key learning.

What did we achieve?

  • We reduced the page load time by 27% from 2.96s to 2.15s
  • We reduced the app server response time by 25% from 365ms to 275ms.

What is the impact?

  • We reduced the number of profile resigns by 24%
  • We increased the number of messages by 71%

What does this mean?

In online dating, revenue is a function of activities. The more active people gather on an online dating site, the more revenue is typically seen in the business. Activity on the other hand is a complex function of ‘messages transported’, ‘searches done’, ‘profiles viewed’, ‘pictures seen’ and so on.

So, in our case. The decrease in page load time led directly to higher activity on our platform. Higher activity leads to higher revenues. We’ve seen our impact on revenues driven by reduced page load time.

Page Load time is crucial for a web service. Why?

For a technical person, page load time feels like being important. It’s a natural tendency, an instinct almost, to make everything perform best. Unfortunately, from a business perspective that’s not really a driver to impress people or make people being responsible for revenues to re-think the importance of page load time.

Why it might be of interest – also for business people?

There is a tight coupling between revenue and page load time in e-commerce businesses. The Infographic “How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line” shows slower page response time resulting in increased abandonment rates,  a Forrester study shows that 14% of online shoppers go to another site if they have to wait for a page to load – 23% will stop shopping, Shopzilla redesigned their site to load 5 seconds faster resulting in 10% revenue increase, Bing reported from a trial that a 2-second slowdown of page load time resulted in reduced revenues per user by 4,3%, Amazon measured a relation of 1% sales decrease for every 100 millisecond lost in page speed, and Google reported a revenue decrease by 20% for every 500 millisecond page performance loss, the Mozilla corporation behind Firefox managed to reduce the page load time of their download pages by 2.2 seconds resulting in 60 million additional downloads per year,

Why is it important for people? Why should web sites simply be fast?

There is this article “Our Need For Web Speed: It’s about neuroscience, not entitlement” from radware / strangeloop. It gives deeper insights into human nature and why it is important to run fast websites. A really good motivation for technical and non-technical people to think about the nature of performance. On web performance today, there is this infographic “This is your brain on a slow website” which picks up some of the arguments of the article in a displayable way.

Jakob Nielsen wrote in 2010 already in “Website Response Times” about the impact of slow web pages on humans and gives good reasons why we should definitely try to avoid this bad user experience.

Also good source of information to get an impression of the current state of the union: “Ecommerce Page Speed & Web Performance“.

Furthermore, there is this article on “How Facebook satisfied a need for speed“. Robert Johnson, director of engineering explains how Facebook boosted their speed by factor 2.

Another poster “Visualizing Web Performance” by strangeloop.