Gary Angel is president and CTO of Semphonic, a consultancy that helps companies improve web analytics implementations. Together with TagMan CEO Paul Cook, he’ll present a webinar on Thursday, Sept. 29 entitled Accelerate Your Website, Accelerate Your Sales.
We caught up with Gary to learn more about what he’ll be discussing, and who should sign up to participate. This is the first of a two-part interview.
Who’s the target audience for this webinar?
That’s a really good question. It’s not always one individual person who’s responsible for page performance. Marketing folks in general are not responsible for the page load times on the site, but they need to be deeply concerned with it. They’re the critical influencing constituency who need to let the IT side of the house know what they need from a page load perspective. That’s one audience. Those aren’t the people who are charged with making those page load times happen. They’re not on the design side, they’re not on the IT side, or the network side. They’re the people who have a real stake in what happens with the website and whether page performance is going to impact their bottom line, so that’s one natural audience.
There are deep technological issues involved in this issue to and it’s critical for that audience to understand how technology can impact page load times and also how important page load time is to what they’re trying to accomplish.
A second audience I see with tag management issues is increasingly as we look at enterprises evaluating tag management systems what we’ve found out is it’s a little bit different from people who have gone out and looked at web analytics tags. With web analytics tags, generally performance doesn’t seem to be that big a deal. When people are evaluating a tag management system, the IT folks who are heavily responsible for network performance and overall performance of the system are heavily involved in those decisions, so naturally this webinar is intended for those folks, too, to give them a really good sense of what a tag management system can accomplish and what they should think about and look for in terms of technologies that can really drive performance of the page. They’re the people who have to make the technical decision about what will help accomplish those goals.
Really, the webinar is intended for both those audiences: people on the IT side of the house who are thinking about tag management from a technology and a network perspective and really need to understand will it improve page load performance, what can I expect from it, what are the risks and issues? But also for the marketing guys so they understand what the potential benefits are so they can be influencers in that decision.
How much awareness is out there of page load time being potential problem?
I think there’s been a pretty substantial increase in awareness around that. A couple of years back people had gotten a little sloppy about monitoring their page load times. Pages were getting heavier and heavier. But a couple of factors have focused people on the degree to which this is an important problem. A number of studies were released that really suggested slow-loading sites had a significant impact on the conversion rates and satisfaction rates of sites. That got a lot of attention. In general we went through a cycle of web page getting heavier and heavier and heavier, partially because they could. So many people moved to broadband, and broadband rates have been increasing. It’s been a lot easier to load up technology and fancy elements on pages, and an inevitable tendency to do that.
At some point you do hit saturation levels. Maybe we did go through a cycle of a lot of people had done that then said, “Wait a minute. My page looks great and is full of fancy stuff, but every time I load it, it takes a heck of a long time.”
There quite a bit of awareness, actually, that it’s a real problem.
It also tends to be one of those problems that can fly under the radar. There’s vivid and immediate benefits to fancy design. People see that and experience that. A lot of the time, the people who are evaluating the website are on really fast internal websites, so they’re not aware of what everyone else is doing. It’s a problem people are aware of, but it’s still a problem that slips into the background just because the things that challenge it and cause the problem are much more immediate, visual and visceral than problems in performance loading, which are often hidden from the people who have to make decisions about those things.
The interview with Gary will continue next week. Meanwhile, please register to attend the Sept. 29 webinar.