Website Speed and Performance, Your Site vs. the Competition
Competition drives success and innovation. Whether it is personal or professional, being competitively focused is widely practiced. It is often said that in competitive industries it’s the companies that are keeping their competition close and under surveillance are the companies that thrive. Understanding the competition can assist in defining your actions, goals, customer satisfaction metrics and define your path to innovation.
As we marketers move an ever increasing amount of our marketing budget to the Web and digital domains, it’s critical that every dollar spent be maximized towards our ROI goals. We spend a crazy amount of time conceptualizing, designing, reviewing and planning our Web based initiatives. From website redesigns to paid search campaigns to web-based contests and promotions we spend a lot of time and money driving new methods to drive traffic to our web properties. Our goal might always be revenue based, yet in many cases we strive to create an engaging and interactive user experience for our visitors.All the while our competition is also driving visitors through various campaigns and programs to their websites.
Every industry is competitive, however I can’t think of many that are more competitive and have more to gain from new conquest sales from the competition than the automotive industry. I am talking specifically – high-end luxury automakers. They spend lavishly on websites, microsites, Super Bowl advertisements, and web based “build your own” applications. All of these Web-based vehicles are designed to do two things: positively increase brand perception and product awareness which in turn maintain owner loyalty, and drive lead forms for local dealerships.
I recently created a new Web Performance Benchmark Monitoring report at
www.yottaa.com. I selected a few high-end luxury and performance oriented automotive brands, ran them through Yottaa Insight, Yottaa’s cloud-based Website Performance Monitoring service.
The companies that I looked at were: Cadillac, Lexus, Jaguar, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Audi and Infiniti.
I was amazed by the variation in page load times and seemingly varied attention to performance that seems to have been spent by each brands marketing and Web development teams. I would have thought that in this highly competitive industry, we would have seen more consistency in their Yottaa Score (a measurement of a website’s performance).
I was also surprised by the variation in YSlow scores. They range from a low 50s score (Infiniti) to a high of over 70 (Cadillac)!
I also looked at the Page Load Time. I find “Time to First Paint” is an interesting web performance metric- especially for internationally based companies. Having a good website speed is important in local markets, and users are generally impatient if they don’t see anything in their browser in less than two seconds.
I wonder how brand perception is positively or negatively impacted by slow Websites. Does a slow website for a high-performance automobile negatively affect brand perception? Will a slow website decrease the number of visitors that perform the marketer’s desired action? Do you monitor your website against the competition?