Catchpoint: Bookmakers must improve mobile load times

Catchpoint: Bookmakers must improve mobile load times

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Findings from the Grand National weekend showed many were below par

The Grand National is typically a good day out for punters and the bookies alike and this year was no different. One for Arthur became only the second Scottish winner in history, and punters who opted for the horse will have reaped the rewards with odds of 14/1.

Digital performance intelligence firm Catchpoint meanwhile was assessing a different set of stats. It was tracking the load times of the bookmakers themselves (homepages only), on both the day itself and in the run up to the National. It was found that a load time of over four seconds was the standard. Sky Bet took seven seconds, whilst The Tote and Paddy Power were also in the back at six on the day itself. Gamebookers followed up the rear at eight seconds.

Not including affiliate Blue Square, Bet365 was the leader at a load time of 1.5 seconds, followed closely by Unibet. Prior to the National, Sky Bet and Bwin were down to just over three seconds, whilst the likes of Betfred and 888Sport took longer due to homepages loaded up with applications and data heavy features. The recommendation by Catchpoint is that bookmakers check on their social media plugins and third party apps, how many images and videos they embed, ensure that their provider can handle the amount of traffic they’re expecting and check that mobile sites test and control APIs.

Totally Gaming spoke to Tobias Dreyschultze, Senior Performance Engineer at Catchpoint about the importance of load time, and whether bookies should consider a less content heavy, fast alternative to their main homepages.

He said: “Catchpoint ran tests only on desktop homepages over the Grand National weekend. Digital performance is essential part of the user experience and it’s key to the success of gaming sites.

“A lot of studies now show that performance has a big impact on business metrics. It also impacts people’s behaviour when they are using a website on different devices. Our latest study showed that mobile users are more sensitive and long wait times could make them more easily frustrated than desktop users. People want to bet on actual situation and a great number of bets are done while a competition runs; therefore, bookmakers need to ensure the best possible performance of their sites on both desktop and mobile, if they don’t want to get punters frustrated.”

As to whether betting operators should consider an alternative for those looking to place a bet as quickly as possible, Dreyschultze responded: “This is always a tradeoff and goes back to the business model of the company. So, considering less content heavy alternative is a must if bookmakers want to provide superfast and simple experience, especially during big events such as the Grand National.

“It is important that bookies consider with extra care basic rules around performance optimisation for their sites such as compression, image compression, caching, asynchrony download, no blockers, etc.”

Totally Gaming says: It’s no great surprise that Bet365 was the victor in this but bookies should take note of Catchpoint’s recommendations regarding load times, especially when it comes to mobile. On paper 1.5 seconds and eight seconds might not seem far apart but in reality it could be the difference between retaining a customer and losing their interest.

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