It was mostly all quiet on the holiday front in the rankings on 3G and 4G networks in the AppDynamics/Mobile Strategies 360 performance index for the week ending Jan. 3. Just as companies restrained from making changes to their mobile sites right before the holiday, it seems many did the same the week of the New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, perhaps more concerned with toasting to a prosperous new year than testing new mobile site strategies.
“Looking at this week’s data and comparing it to the previous week, we see that in the 3G data Fathead.com and NorthwesternMutual.com switched the Nos. 1 and 2 places last week to this week, while Travelocity, Gilt, American Airlines, Morton’s and Etsy remained the same in the No. 3 to No.7 spots,” says Peter Kacandes, senior product marketing manager, mobile, web and synthetics, for AppDynamics.
Similarly, Costco and HSN traded places in the No. 8 and 9 spots on 3G, and Amazon, Budget, Illinois.gov and Choxi remained the same in the 10-13 positions.
However there was one retailer who made some speed gains on 3G for the week ending Jan. 3, which resulted in it moving up more than just a spot in the rankings. DicksSportingGoods.com moved up two spots by shaving about 400 kilobytes off its home page weight. That reduced its visually complete time, or the time is takes for the web browser to complete drawing the visual elements of a home page, and boosted it in the 3G rankings of the performance of 30 mobile home pages from No. 25 to No. 23.
Dick’s did not respond to a request for comment on the changes it made to improve its mobile site.
The exclusive AppDynamics/Mobile Strategies 360 Index tracks key mobile site metrics across a range of sites to calculate a weekly average Speed Score on both 3G and 4G mobile carrier networks. The index represents a snapshot of mobile site performance across industries, including retailers such as HSN.com, insurance companies such as NorthwesternMutual.com and restaurants such as McDonalds.com.
AppDynamics each week measures performance metrics of both 3G and 4G networks for each of the 30 sites in the index to determine each site’s Speed Score.
First render: The time, (in seconds) it takes until the web browser starts drawing the visual elements of a home page.
Visually complete: The time (in seconds) it takes until the web browser has completed drawing the visual elements of a home page.
Number of elements loaded: The number of resources loaded by a home page.
Complete load: The size of the home page when all data is loaded (in megabytes).
Using these metrics, the index calculates the Speed Score. The Speed Score is a ratio that rewards businesses for displaying more visual content on the mobile home page earlier rather than later. The earlier a mobile site home page looks complete to a consumer, the better the mobile experience for the visitor, even if a few remaining elements are displayed later. A site with a higher ratio of content displayed earlier will have a better Speed Score than a site with the same visually complete time but a longer first render time.
For example, site A may have a visually complete home page load time of three seconds, loading 90% of its content in the first second and the remaining 10% in seconds two and three. Site B may have the same three-second visually complete time, but present zero content in the first two seconds and 100% in the third second. The sites have identical visually complete times, but Site A will be perceived as much faster, and will earn a better Speed Score as a result.
The index displays the average across the 30 mobile sites for each metric as well as the average Speed Score on both 3G and 4G networks for each mobile site.
For the week ended Jan. 3, the average Speed Score for 3G was 9.8 seconds, the same as a week earlier. The average first render was 6.6 seconds, the same as a week earlier.
Visually complete average was 16.4 seconds compared to 15.9 seconds the previous week. Average number of elements loaded was 97.0 compared to 99.0 a week earlier. Average home page weight was 1.8 megabytes the same as the previous week.
On 4G, the average Speed Score was 5.8 seconds compared to 5.9 seconds the previous week. The average first render was 3.9 seconds, the same as the previous week.
Visually complete average time was 9.5 seconds compared to 9.4 seconds the previous week. Average number of elements loaded was 96.8 versus 101.6 a week earlier. And average home page weight was 2.1 megabytes compared to 1.6 megabytes the previous week.
The index is accompanied by a chart on MobileStrategies360.com that is refreshed weekly to illustrate how each mobile site performs as well as index averages. Click here to access the performance chart for the week ending Jan.3.
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