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Is your event website loading time slowing your ticket sales?

The time your event website takes to load up is important, it really is a case of ‘every second counts’ and studies carried out by Kissmetric show that page abandonment doubles with an increase in page load time from 2 to 4 seconds. Losing visitors because of slow page load times will mean you are losing potential ticket purchasers or exhibitor stand bookings.

Site load metrics

How quickly do your event website pages load?

Do you know if visitors are getting frustrated and leaving the site before converting? Luckily for us in Google Analytics there are some standard reports as well as dimensions and metrics that can be paired to tell a story of how quickly your pages are loading and in what browsers, devices etc.

In your analytics account go to the reporting section for your view and select Behavior > Site Speed (from the left menu).

Here we have the following standard reports which are useful to find out how quickly (or not so quickly) our event website is loading:

Overview - This report gives us a break down of the site average page load time, split out by browser.

Page timings - This report gives us the page load time performance for individual pages as a % against the site average.

Before you dive in it is worth noting that Timing metrics are based on a 1% sample of your data by default. To understand how this affects the data output, it’s useful to pair timing metrics with the metrics representing the sample size used. As an example, I created a custom report where I wanted to see how my average page load time compared on different browsers.

Site speed images

Holy moly Batman! The data would suggest YaBrowser and Opera are having a tough time loading up our pages.  However, It is probably also fair to say that these are not two commonly used browsers by our target audience and the site is most likely not optimised for these. Here is the same report with the Speed Metrics Sample added:

Another site speed image

The Speed Metrics Sample lets us know how many pages were used to track the Average Page Load Time. Now we can see that we don’t need to go into full panic mode just yet (hands off the bat phone) because the high load times for YaBrowser and Opera only represents 2 pages. We could do a little more testing to see if the site is incorrectly optimised for the poorly performing Browsers, but it may be that other factors affected the load time. Overall, data from 2 pages is not enough to gain any valuable insight and the amount of affected visitors using these two browsers will probably mean this is not a cost effective exercise.

But what about IE? We can see the page load time is 3 times that of Chrome and has a sample data that is worth taking note of.  The next step here would be to look to see if there was a particular version of IE causing the issue and then investigating from this point.  Maybe the website isn’t optimised for that IE version, maybe when you delve into the individual pages it is one particular page that is not loading very quickly on IE.  It could be a whole host of reasons but based on the research bringing this inline with our Chrome and Firefox figures could help us retain a significant amount of visitors.

You may find some surprising insights when you start pairing these with other metrics and dimensions, so experiment and see what insight you can gather from the data about your visitors behaviour and actions based on your site speed.

Another great feature within this Site Speed section is Speed Suggestions this section links directly into Googles PageSpeed Insights.  This tool can give you some VERY handy pointers about where your event website pages are performing well and more importantly what changes you can effect to speed up the page load times.

You may need to contact your event website developer regarding optimising your event website and carrying out deeper investigation on what is causing any slow page loads or issues with particular browsers but with Google Analytics and Google PageSpeed insights you are in a position where you can see what browsers, and pages are causing problems which puts you in a good position to make sure you do not lose potential ticket sales or exhibitor bookings because of slow page loads.

Have a look today and see how quick your event website is loading up and make sure you are not losing potential customers unnecessarily.

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