Slow loading speeds are putting international marketing performance at risk

As the digital landscape continues to develop, the world is becoming smaller. We can communicate across borders, buy products from different countries and browse the world. With all of these opportunities at our fingertips, it’s easy to see why we are becoming less patient.

We expect fast loading times, instant information and immediate answers to our questions. No matter where we are or what website we are browsing. In fact, according to research by Nielsen, around half (47%) of visitors expect a website to load in less than two seconds and 40% will leave that website if the loading process takes more than three seconds.

> See also: Recipes from the media delivery cookbook: how to serve up online media in the hyperconnected world

When it comes to international web browsing, consumers expecting instant gratification often feel frustrated at slow loading times. It’s not uncommon to see people scowling at their phones or computer screens. In fact, it happens so often that actor Kevin Bacon has famously named it ‘buffer face’. Despite the fact that consumer tolerance is in short supply these days, marketers are still failing to meet consumer expectations on an international level.

Recent research shows that the typical loading time for an online ad shown in Shanghai from a European-based server, for example, is 16.9 seconds. Similarly, a consumer browsing a European site from Beijing can expect a loading time of 15.8 seconds; this is a far cry from the level of service we are coming to expect from an online experience.

This is a major issue for advertisers looking to target consumers across the globe. Let’s take the example of buying a juicer online. A consumer might start by reading a review comparing the latest juicers on the market. At this point, a successful performance marketing campaign would ideally target that consumer with advertising to influence the purchase.

However, if the ads don’t load correctly, or the link takes more than three seconds to load, the potential customer is likely to lose interest and look elsewhere.

Equally, when it comes to tracking sales, slow load times and delays across the global internet landscape are holding performance marketing back. If a sale is not tracked correctly, neither the publisher, nor the advertiser, will be aware of where the sale has taken place.

This results in loss of revenue for publishers and an incomplete picture of where, when and how sales are being made.

Put into perspective, a single day of poor web performance could lose advertisers valuable customers who will turn to competitors’ sites instead of waiting those extra seconds. In addition, slow load times can dramatically reduce the ability of marketers to track a consumer’s online journey, holding back their marketing campaign as a whole.

However, it doesn’t have to be like this. A strong online performance marketing campaign should have global capabilities at its core, as well as the technology to keep up with today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape.

> See also: The great UX differentiator: how retailers can create the digital user experience customers demand

By using cloud technology to replicate tracking servers across the globe, it’s possible for marketers to automatically direct consumers to a server that will provide them with the best experience, depending on their location. This can improve loading speeds and tracking reliability five-fold.

Marketers can add further global capabilities to their performance marketing campaigns by allowing ad publishers to receive payment in the currency of their choice. This simplifies book-keeping and reduces currency exchange risk, against a backdrop of improved loading speeds and tracking results.

A successful international marketing strategy needs to start with a fundamental understanding of consumer expectations. Our need for speed must be built into any performance marketing strategy with care – especially when that strategy is crossing borders and currencies.

As the digital landscape evolves and the world gets smaller, marketers need to take a proactive approach to beating ‘buffer face’ in order to meet consumer expectations and reap the rewards of the global market.

Sourced from Jeff Johnston, VP product management, Tradedoubler

Avatar photo

Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

Related Topics

Cloud Technology