Who would have thought that providing a better experience for people viewing internet content would be so controversial? You may know by now that Apple announced a new Safari release bringing content blocking extensions to iOS and Mac OSX, emphasizing user experience and the impact of 3rd parties on performance, battery life and data consumption. The uproar over this is largely focused on advertising and the monetary effects on the publishing ecosystem.
You can read more about that here: http://fortune.com/2015/07/08/apple-ad-block-ios/
Dean Murphy Creates a Blocker and Improves Mobile Performance
Dean Murphy created a blocker and looked at the mobile performance on IMore.
“After turning off all third party scripts, the homepage took 2 seconds to load, down from 11 seconds. Also, the network activity stopped as soon as the page loaded so it should be less strain on the battery.” Dean Murphy, An hour with Safari Content Blocker in iOS 9
John Gruber Reacts
Balance of Site Performance and Monetization
The ability for publishers to find the balance of site performance and monetization is reliant on them having the tools which provide visibility into that performance and the effects of both third parties and the vendors they choose. Using a synthetic performance monitoring tool such as Alertsite, we can look at iMore.com and understand such effects.
Basic Availability Monitor
Real Browser Monitor
To dive into the additional data we need, we look at the iMore waterfall chart below derived from real browser monitoring. This shows me all of the page components and their impact on performance/user experience (note that the included screenshot reflects only ¼ of the entire page content). This insight allows me to start making decisions on what I want to keep/remove from my site, to optimize both performance and monetization.
So it is obvious that all these third party items affect the performance of your website. When you are talking about performance there are three parts- is the web application available – is it running? Is the response correct – is the page loading but it’s loading a 404 error? Is it fast?
The chart below shows the difference between first party content and third party content for a two-step AlertSite monitor of iMore’s site running on Firefox. Response time for hosted first party content is under 10 seconds. The aggregate response time of third party content is closer to 30 seconds – roughly 3X the actual site content. Using this chart along with the waterfall, I have the insight needed to optimize user experience.
User Experience is the point, and it’s what we do
End user experience is of paramount importance- after 3 seconds your end users leave, or lash out on public forums about their frustration, costing you revenue.
Another aspect of user experience in an increasingly mobile world that must be considered is the impact of all this 3rd party content processing and data flow on battery life and data consumption. If you are accurately monitoring the user experience you’ll be in a better position to control the total user experience as well.
If your website or application is frustratingly slow or impacts device battery life and data consumption, then your ability to serve ad inventory is compromised.
It is going to be ever more important to understand and take proactive control over the total user experience. If you don’t, your users will do it for you.
Stay tuned for another installment on this subject where we focus on the monetary ecosystem.
To learn more about how AlertSite can help you retain control of this balancing act, please visit http://www.smartbear.com/alertsite/.