How Compare the Market built performance into everything they design and decreased bounce rates across all product pages by 50%

As an independent and impartial comparison service for car and home insurance products, Compare The Market sees approximately 61% of its site traffic coming from mobile devices, a trend that shows no sign of slowing. The Compare The Market team realised that speed is the killer feature on mobile. Therefore to get ahead, they focused on giving consumers the fastest possible experience by tackling page load times.

Goals
Optimise online customer experience
Improve page speed
Approach
Tested Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) on one landing page
Built business case and rolled out to other key pages
Results
Upto 58% decrease in bounce rates across all product pages
93% increase in click-through rate
"Being able to both improve the customer experience across our website and also work with new technology in AMP was a fun and empowering project to be involved in. It’s also nice to see the results across the business as the effect of a quicker website improves the stats."

– Robin Allport, Application Architect, Compare The Market

Compare The Market got started by testing how Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) could help drive speed improvements. They did a full implementation of AMP for the landing page for pet insurance. To monitor performance across key metrics such as requests per page, page weight, and speed index, the team used a range of dashboards and analytics tools including Webpagetest.org  and Lighthouse performance scores.

Showing an increase in the click-through rate that was far greater than expected, the experiment demonstrated sharp improvements in bounce, conversion, and engagement rates, For example, the bounce rate was just 10% while the click-through rate soared to 93%.

The proof is in the performance

The team used the results to build a business case. “Once we showcased back to stakeholders that the results were persuasive, it made sense to extend this to all product landing pages and content”, explains Colin Swan, Delivery Manager. “We aligned this with work on our existing website to improve performance on both mobile and desktop. We’re measuring as we go and iterating on the work.”

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With page speed being taken very seriously at board level, Compare The Market’s product, engineering and executive teams have worked together to embrace AMP technology. Today, a site speed dashboard appears on screens throughout the office and is being used across the entire user journey. “We made the decision to take an AMP-first approach when reengineering our website”, Colin says. “Because of AMP and thanks to Google’s recommendations for speed optimisation, we’ve embedded performance into the design of everything we build.”

Rolling out AMP to all product pages significantly reduced bounce rates on:

  • Travel insurance: down 58%
  • Home insurance : down 41%
  • Pet insurance: down 32%

10 guidelines to help reduce load times

Underpinning their development efforts, here are 10 guidelines that can help any team hoping to reduce load times:

  1. Avoid landing page redirects
  2. Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS above the fold
  3. Enable compression
  4. Minify your CSS, and bundle into one file
  5. Minify your JavaScript, and bundle into one file
  6. Minify your HTML
  7. Optimise your images
  8. Prioritise visible content
  9. Reduce server response time
  10. Leverage browser caching

3 tips to drive a ‘mobile-first’ marketing mindset

For many businesses, poor user experience blocks commercial performance. To produce compelling user experiences that drive better business results, it’s vital to overcome three common internal challenges.

Challenge #1: Insight

Product teams tend to prioritise work they know how to estimate rather than features where the potential impact isn’t readily obvious.

Challenge #2: People and training

Many development teams spend the majority of their time working on technical debt. However, the focus should be on giving users what they want and not on fixing the past.

Challenge #3: Culture

Although the phrase ‘mobile-first’ has been around for a long time, many brands don’t have the processes and culture in place to be truly mobile focused. 

Overcoming these challenges leads to better execution, which leads to better experience, which leads to better business results. Compare The Market offers an inspiring example: they built a business case to initiate mobile developments, got buy-in throughout the organisation and put processes in place that are now delivering tangible value to their customers and to the business.

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