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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : April 03, 2016

UK's slowest retail websites crammed with third-party content

New research from website performance firm NCC Group suggests that third-party content is having a detrimental effect on the loading speed of some of the UK's biggest retail websites.

by Helen Leggatt

In their analysis of the UK's top 50 retail websites, NCC Group looked at the 10 fastest and 10 slowest and found that, on average the slowest homepages of those websites contained 7.5X more third-party content than the fastest. Third-party content can take the form of advertising, testing or remarketing services.

A custom metric called Speed Index was used to ascertain how fast a web page is displayed as opposed to measuring page load times. Why? Because, explains Ben Daniel, head of NCC Group's web performance professional services team, "When it comes to the impact of third-party content on a website's performance, page load times can be misleading. It doesn't necessarily matter to the end user if the overall load time is slow if third-party services are loaded after the page has displayed."

NCC Groups findings show that the fastest sites contained just 83KB of third-party content, the slowest contained a whopping 618KB, almost twice the size of the smallest page tested (299KB).

Furthermore, the overall proportion of third-party content was higher on the slower pages. While faster pages averaged 9%, slower pages contained up around 15%.

"Our results show a clear correlation between the volume of third-party content on a page and the visual experience that page delivers to users," concluded Daniel.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: advertising, load times, research, retail, UK, website performance

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