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We know that we are addicted to our mobile devices and love that they enable us to purchase anytime, anywhere.

So chances are that one of your next purchases will be via your tablet or mobile phone.

But what does this mean for businesses operating in the mobile space?

Over 13% of all web browsing is done on a mobile device,  a percentage that has doubled in a year, and this rise is at the expense of the static computer, which is decreasing at a similar rate.

With the mobile commerce market on target to reach $25B in 2013, businesses are facing a huge opportunity that currently presents a major challenge: speed.  

Stats from Gomez show that the majority of users expect performance levels close to that on desktop: 

The stats also show that: 

  • 57% have experienced problems when accessing a mobile site. 
  • 46% would not return to a poor performing site. 

However, the average load time for an mobile commerce site is over seven seconds. It is estimated that the frustration caused by these five seconds accounts for over $1B in lost revenue per year, a good amount of brand dissatisfaction and even a healthy number of frustrated mobile consumers who throw their phones while waiting for slow pages and apps to load.


Worse than throwing phones, annoyed users leave your shopping pages and seek out the competition. Around three-quarters (74%) of users will leave a site after waiting five seconds for a mobile site to load (remember that average was over seven seconds), and a quarter (26%) will visit a competing site.

But even if they’re satisfied with performance, consumers may also become suspicious of mobile data collection and sharing policies. Apps and sites that hold sensitive information, the health or banking sectors are examples, need to be particularly careful about keeping consumers informed of their data sharing policies.

The market is expanding quickly, but slow performance and distrust are significant obstacles to growing revenue. So what can companies do to improve both performance and privacy in their mobile environments?

Companies struggle with issues relating to performance and trust when they do not have control of the third-party elements running through their mobile sites and apps.

The average mobile website contains over forty unique third-party tags and, while they provide useful services and analytics for site owners, they can also slow page load speed. The most effective way to minimise this impact is to better understand the third parties with a presence in your mobile environment.  

While it may seem obvious that websites should know the companies that have tags on their site, there have been many factors that have resulted in the mobile environment not being developed in a well-organised fashion. Historically, companies were often in a rush to get mobile apps into the market and needed to work with new third parties who were unknown in the desktop space.

While the tools to properly monitor these tags did not exist in the early ‘Wild West’ days of mobile, this is not the case now; the market is maturing and websites can now make sure the marketing elements on their websites are under control.

In order to gain control, you need to have a full list of trackers, both directly-placed and delivered by third parties, on your mobile sites and apps.

Once you know who the companies are, you can then look at the impact each element has, as well as what data the third party is collecting about your consumer and what they do with this information.

This can then help you optimise the performance of your website. You may decide to use a CDN to reduce third-party calls on page load, or to work with a tag manager to improve tag structure.  Once you have improved performance be sure to continue to monitor for slow elements – do not let any disrupt your carefully streamlined mobile experience.

In terms of privacy risk, the map may direct you to solidify data collection agreements with your vendors, or offer better options to your consumers to voluntarily opt out of some tracking. 

Five seconds could make the difference between a purchase from your site or that of your competitors. Take the time to review the trackers on your mobile site, and the reward will be an increase in site visits and climbing mobile revenue numbers.

Todd Ruback

Published 24 October, 2013 by Todd Ruback

Amy King is Vice President, Product Marketing at Evidon and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

3 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

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webmoghuls

its a very interesting blog

almost 3 years ago

emma friv

emma friv, Collaborators at gamesfriv2.com

Finding quality information on this topic that's clear and interesting is difficult. I just wanted to tell you this is a great original article and I agree with many of the viewpoints you have stated.

over 2 years ago

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Simonne Vickers, Online PR Executive at Summit

Very engaging article.

The main factor to remember is make site speed a priority amongst your other web projects. Shoppers on mobile devices now make up 30% of retailers’ site traffic so a fast website is crucial to a good user experience for this audenice.

Summit have highlighted the real cost of a slow ecommerce site:

http://www.summit.co.uk/slow-ecommerce-website-speed-costs-sales/

over 2 years ago

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