The Problem is Poor Performance

On the Mozilla website, they posted a blog about Firefox and page load speed that shows how Mozilla engineers figured out that they could drive an additional 60 million annual downloads of the Firefox browser by improving the performance of their landing pages.

Before the changes, Firefox's page took about 7 seconds to display with the key call to action button.  This video shows the simple comparison of watching the Firefox page load side-by-side with the Chrome and Opera pages.  Chrome is obviously the fastest.  It blows away Firefox. 

They deployed two simple web performance tuning tricks: 

  1. Combine (or remove) the JavaScript files
  2. Inline the CSS

After Simple Web Performance Tuning

After the web performance tuning, the Firefox landing page that facilitates a download of the product was 2.2 seconds faster than the original version.  They then ran some A/B tests to see what the effect would be on conversions.  The 2.2 seconds translated to 15.4% more download conversions.  Please note: this is only 1 of their 6 landing pages.

Here's the math that calculates the total annual impact of the improved page load speed:

275,000 daily visitors x 15.4% conversion improvement

Results in: 60,000,000 additional downloads per year!

They put this 60 million into context for us:

Looking back at our record breaking download day during the launch of Fx3 (June 2008), a total of 8,002,530 people downloaded Firefox. Adding 60 million downloads is akin to running 10 Download Day campaigns per year.

Performance is Money

This is one of many case studies that prove statistically that web performance directly impacts the success of a site.  Goals can be measured in downloads, sign-up,  subscriptions, or product purchases.  Any way you look at it, better performance results in higher success.
What are your thoughts on the impact of web performance tuning?
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