Measuring Page Load Time With Success Events
One of the things I have noticed lately is how slowly some websites are loading, especially media-related websites. For example, recently I visited wired.com and couldn’t get anything to work. Then I looked at Ghostery and saw that they had 126 tags on their site and a page load time of almost 20 seconds!
As a web analyst, you may want to measure how long it is taking your pages to load. Doing this isn’t trivial, as can be seen in my partner Josh West’s 2015 blog post. In this post, Josh shows some of the ways you can capture page load time in a dimension in Adobe or Google Analytics, though doing so is not going to be completely exact. Regardless, I suggest you check out his post and consider adding this dimension to your analytics implementation.
One thing that Josh alluded to, but did not go into depth on, is the idea of storing page load time as a metric. This is quite different than capturing the load time in a dimension, so I thought I would touch upon how to do this in Adobe Analytics (which can also be done in Google Analytics). If you want to store page load time as a metric in Adobe Analytics, you would pass the actual load time (in seconds or milliseconds) to a Numeric Success Event. This would create an aggregated page load time metric that is increased with every website page view. This new metric can be divided by page views or you can set a separate counter page load denominator success event (if you are not going to track page load time on every page). Here is what you might see if you set the page load time and denominator metrics in the debugger:
You would also want to capture the page name in an eVar so you can easily see the page load time metrics by page. This is what the data might look like in a page name (actual page names hidden here):
In this case, there is a calculated metric that is dividing the aggregated page load time by the denominator to see an average page load time for each page. There are also ways that you can use Visit metrics to see the average page load time per visit. Regardless of which version you use, this type of report can help you identify your problem pages so you can see if there are things you can do to improve conversion. I suggest combing this with a Participation report to see which pages impact your conversion the most, but are loading slowly.
Another cool thing you can do with this data is to trend the average page load time for the website overall. Since you already have created the calculated metric shown below, you can simply open this metric by itself (vs. viewing by page name), to see the overall trend of page load speeds for your site and then set some internal targets or goals to strive for in the future.