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Mobile Web Stress: The impact of network speed on emotional engagement and brand perception [REPORT]

December 10, 2013 — by Tammy Everts1

I’m very excited to announce that, today at Radware, we’re releasing our latest report: a pioneering neuroscientific study into the behaviour and perceptions of mobile shoppers.

Among other things, we found that network delays of as little as 500 milliseconds can result in up to a 26% increase in peak frustration. We also learned that slow performance can  damage brand perception in areas unrelated to speed, such as quality of content, visual design, and ease of navigation.

Groundbreaking Methodology Combines EEG, Eyetracking, and Implicit Response Testing

The report — entitled Mobile Web Stress: The impact of network speed on emotional engagement and brand perception — is the first study to incorporate state-of-the-art electroencephalography (EEG) and eyetracking technologies with implicit response testing to measure moment-by-moment user reactions throughout a series of transactions.

To design and conduct this three-part study, we worked closely with a team of global specialists from Seren (a leader in customer experience and service design), Neurosense (aleader in implicit methodologies), and NeuroStrata (consultants in blending neuromarketing applications).

Our test participants were given standardized shopping tasks on four ecommerce and travel sites using an iPhone. We studied users on these tasks, both at the normal site loading-speed over Wifi and also at a consistently slowed-down speed (500ms). From this we were able to extract measures of frustration and emotional engagement for the browsing and basket-filling stages of both the normal and slowed-down versions of all four sites.

Key Findings

A few of our noteworthy findings:

  1. Mobile users are significantly affected by slow performance. A 500ms connection speed delay resulted in up to a 26% increase in peak frustration and up to an 8% decrease in engagement.
  2. Slow sites can seriously undermine overall brand health – across both desktop and mobile platforms.
  3. The nature and scale of the impact varies, depending on a number of factors (e.g., inherent strength/weakness of brand).
  4. Brands with already fragile consumer affinity are at higher risk than more robus brands.
  5. The greatest risk of page delays is to consumers’ purchase intent.

Mobile Web Stress

This study offers powerful evidence that brand perception is based on more than a flashy logo or smart marketing strategy. A consumer’s online shopping experience has a major impact on their feelings about a retailer, and because these feeling are happening at a non-conscious, pre-cognitive level, they are beyond the control of site owners. A slow site and poor user interface can be detrimental – potentially negating other, more expensive, branding efforts.

Download the Report

To learn more about the groundbreaking methodology used in this study, and to read our detailed findings, download the free report: Mobile Web Stress: The impact of network speed on emotional engagement and brand perception

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Tammy Everts

As a former senior researcher, writer, and solution evangelist for Radware, Tammy Everts spent years researching the technical, business, and human factor sides of web/application performance. Before joining Radware, Tammy shared her research findings through countless blog posts, presentations, case studies, whitepapers, articles, reports, and infographics for Strangeloop Networks.

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