“The Mobile Web Is In Crisis!” Google’s Product Director

“The Mobile Web Is In Crisis!” Google’s Product Director

The mobile web is not delivering on our need for speed, and consumer experience is being left on the table. At least, that’s the view of Richard Gingras, senior product director at Google News and Social Products.

Emma Mackenzie
Posted by Emma Mackenzie

Speaking at the Ad:Tech conference in Sydney this morning about a wide range of issues in the media ecosystem today, one topic in focus was the customer experience on the mobile web. And when it comes to speed, it’s not great.

Gingras said any kind of website and web experience needs to be instantaneous. Anything less than instant increases the chances the reader abandons the website.

“How do we address the need for speed?” he asked the audience. “The mobile web must be as fast and compelling as any native app experience…right now, I declare the mobile web is in crisis.

“The mobile web today is not instantaneous, in an all too obvious and painful fact.

“If it’s not instant, than it’s not fast enough.”

Gingras cited a statistic where 40 per cent of people will leave a website if it’s taking longer than three seconds to load.

“A publishers’ or advertisers’ mobile strategy cannot achieve optimal success if users abandon pages due to sluggish performance or disrespectful user experience,” he said.

Similarly 78 per cent of users prefer websites that have four ads or fewer per page, he said, and 60 per cent question the credibility of sites with too many ads.

He said one of the key challenges of the ad industry in the internet realm today was: “Advertising experiences are too often more annoying than they are compelling.”

And it’s this challenge which has brought about the issue of ad blocking, a much debated topic in adland at the moment.

It’s become such a concern, particularly on the mobile web, tech and mobile vendors – such as Three network in the UK and Apple – have started allowing their own users to block ads.

Three gave the reasoning recently it wasn’t encouraging users to block ads, rather it didn’t want its users paying for the data needed to download ads on mobile devices.

And it was the same argument Gingras made at the conference this morning, and is what prompted Google to start up its initiative Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP).

The initiative aims to make mobile pages load instantaneously and help publishers to create mobile optimised content.

The initiative has a variety of factors to increase mobile web performance, such as loading content before the ads, and not allowing the pop-up ad, which is annoying in itself, said Gingras.

Its core objective, said Gingras: “To make the web great again.”