The Telegraph Media Group (TMG) is a multi-media news publisher and its titles include The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and The Telegraph website. Today, its site serves more than 380 million pages to over 84 million unique visitors every month across the globe, featuring on average about 15,000 stories and 900 videos.
While The Telegraph is a true digital pioneer - its website launched four years before Google and ten years before Facebook - it too is forging a new path. Like other online publishers, Telegraph is looking for data and new ways to help drive greater engagement and improve customer experience.
Therefore, Telegraph and Akamai decided to conduct a study together to test this hypothesis: small incremental performance improvements would translate into measureable value for publishers such as The Telegraph. The study would look at what would happen if page weight was significantly reduced and in turn, how much faster would pages load; how would longer session lengths impact the number of ad impressions served; and if page loads were X seconds faster, what would be the impact on user session length?
In order to ensure that any data collected was robust and unbiased, we turned to SOASTA (now part of Akamai) to help conduct the study. As a result, the three-month long study which collected data about page load times and user session lengths, demonstrated the business value of adjusting images to serve the right image in the right format to each device based on connectivity at that moment. In addition, Telegraph saw the following results after using Image Manager:
- Achieved 9.6 percent overall improvement in page load time
- Realized 2 percent overall improvement in overall session length
- Decreased page load time by nearly 34 percent for mobile devices
- Increased sessions lengths by almost 13 percent on mobile devices
- Saw an average 50 percent reduction in image weight
- Boosted engagement and advertisements displayed
- Freed engineering resources to focus on strategic initiatives
The study proves that our hypothesis is true - while seemingly small, these improvements can result in enormous compounding effects on the unique business model of online publishers due to the ability to serve more ad impressions as session length increases.
Images have become increasingly important tools in publishers' battle to engage their customers. This study shows that consistent optimization of their weight can lead to measurable improvements in page load times. This improved end-user experience can significantly affect end-user behavior, encouraging longer sessions, which in turn, generate more ads impressions.