Using Google’s New Mobile Speed Scorecard & Impact Calculator to Improve Your AdWords Account
And the phone-first updates just keep coming.
Yesterday, Google released a pair of new tools designed to help businesses compare their mobile site speed to that of other websites and estimate the potential revenue lost due to poor mobile performance, respectively.
The aptly named Speed Scorecard (depicted above) sources data from Chrome User Experience Reports to surface insights about, you guessed it, speed. It allows you to enter your domain and that of just about any other business and instantly receive a speed score (we’ll get to exactly what ‘speed’ is in a bit).
The Impact Calculator takes that speed figure and a handful of additional inputs—average monthly visitors, average order value, and conversion rate—and uses that data in concert with an interactive sliding scale to estimate the potential revenue impact of improving mobile site speed.
Today, we’re going to take an in-depth look at both free tools and discuss how they can be used to lower cost and improve performance in your AdWords account. But first…
Last December, Google began moving towards a mobile-first indexing in an effort to make the mobile version of websites into the “source of truth,” at least as far as the search engine is concerned.
And since January 1, we’ve seen Google unleash an onslaught of mobile-centric features and tools designed to declutter and improve the on handheld devices. From Chrome’s baked-in ad blocker to AMP-based creative outlets and more, one thing’s clear: Google understands users’ unyielding desire for faster, better browsing, and is making it easier for businesses to identify ways to improve their site performance and content on mobile devices.
Using Google’s Mobile Speed Scorecard
Google, internet-aggregator extraordinaire, knows that you, me, the guy who lives at the end of the hall, the three kids bouncing a tennis ball off your car for fun, we’ve all got something in common: we aren’t going to wait around for a website to load, especially if we’re on our phones.
While it might sound like a reskinned version of the mobile PageSpeed tool Google released in tandem with its Speed Update at the beginning of February, the Speed Scorecard is another beast entirely. Its primary differentiator is that it gives you the ability to see how your site compares to your competition.
Above the Speed Scoreboard, you’re asked to select your country and whether you would like your speed based on 3G or 4G metrics, like so:
Google recommends that, on middle-of-the-road mobile devices, your website loads within five seconds on 3G and 3 seconds on 4G, respectively. In the event you’re, say, Sports Illustrated (8 seconds on 4G, yikes), you’ve got some work to do.
Currently, 12 countries can be selected. These include:
- United Kingdom
- United States
Once you’ve selected your country and network speed, you’ll need to input your domain and those of up to 9 competitors (according to my calculations, that means you can get a speed score for 10 domains simultaneously):
Now, it’s worth mentioning here that the “speed” column is not determined by a guy with a stopwatch. Instead, it’s an aggregate score made up of three metrics that, frankly, go above my pay grade. So here’s what Google has to say about them…
“No single metric perfectly captures mobile site speed and user experience. As such, the ranking methodology is based on a combination of three metrics as reported across mobile devices by the CrUX Report: First Contentful Paint, DomContentLoaded and Onload. The site speed metric shows the 90th percentile of First Contentful Paint from the CrUX report. However, since rank is based on multiple metrics rather than on First Contentful Paint alone, sites with slower First Contentful Paint times may rank higher than sites with faster First Contentful Paint times.”
Might as well be Latin, right?
Basically, this says that your site speed is based on three metrics: First Contentful Paint, DomContentLoaded, and Onload. You should also know that, in the event one of the domains you’d like to research doesn’t show up, it’s due to the fact that the Speed Scorecard’s dataset is reliant on “a subset of sites from the CrUX Report; if Google doesn’t know you—or your nemeses—you’re not going to get much utility out of the tool.
Translating the Impact Calculator
“Even a one-second improvement could increase conversions.”
That sounds ridiculous, right? The sort of whimsical grift foisted on fledgling #marketers two internships and a few hundred High Life’s from a degree in [field]. But watch…
While poor mobile experience agitates the hell out of site visitors, it also has the capacity to bleed your business. Google’s Impact Calculator uses benchmark data to tell you if site speed is a splinter in your business’s thumb or a lost limb.
Once your mobile site speed has been determined, Google will automatically pull that figure, along with your domain, into the Impact Calculator:
The other three fields required to make the tool go—average monthly visitors, average order value, and conversion rate—are a bit trickier to get ahold of. While you can certainly estimate these figures or input random numbers just for the fun of watching that dollar figure 10x itself, you’re better off operating with, you know, actual data.
Average monthly visitors can be pulled easily in Google Analytics—or AdWords, for that matter. If you’d like to focus exclusively on paid traffic, simply use clicks to your site from mobile devices—just be sure to segment your data so that you’re only looking at mobile traffic.
Average Order Value is a bit trickier.
If you run an ecommerce site, head into Google Analytics. Under “Conversion,” click “Overview.”
From here, click “All Users” at the top of the page and check the box for “Mobile Traffic” instead.
This’ll change the Average Order Value metric below to reflect only mobile traffic.
For lead generation, you’ll need to get a bit more creative. Consider the average value of a sale, then your average conversion rate on mobile devices. If you multiply these two figures, you’ll have the approximate value of a lead generated from mobile site traffic.
Finally, if you don’t already know your site’s conversion rate on mobile devices, head back to GA, go to Conversions > Goals > Overview, then segment out mobile traffic as you did to determine Average monthly visitors.
Once you’ve got all this data on deck, enter it into the Impact Calculator to determine how much more bread you could make by improving mobile site speed.
Gosh, whoever owns allenfinn.com is really missing out…
Is Your AdWords Account Mobile-Friendly?
While the Speed Scorecard and Impact Calculator are designed to give you information that can be leveraged to improve performance for all mobile users, not making life easier for traffic you’re paying for is straight up tomfoolery.
Luckily, Google makes it simple to figure out whether or not your landing pages are mobile-friendly.
Per Google, "Mobile-friendly click rate is the percentage of mobile clicks on the Search Network that go to a mobile-friendly page.” Note that, if your use of the Speed Scorecard and Impact Calculator have inspired you to make changes to your mobile landing pages, it’ll take up to two weeks for Google to refresh this data in AdWords.
Why does this matter?
A better landing page experience means a better Quality Score, which means lower CPCs, which means more clicks, which means more conversions, which means more opportunities to make money, which makes the likelihood of you riding off into the sunset on a yacht before you turn 45 pretty much a mortal lock.
The Bottom Line
Stop dissuading potential customers with a slow website. Stop leaving money on the table. Be faster on phones.