Latency Matters, Even For Websites And Rich Internet Applications

In the past, the term latency has been largely ignored in the IT world, with the exception of network engineers and algorithmic trading experts. But today, there is compelling evidence that latency is an important metric for every business that runs a website, or that deploys Rich Internet Applications (RIAs), because even small delays in presenting data show a clear pattern of pushing customers and readers away.

Interesting data, replicated by multiple sources (including Bing, Google, and Amazon) show that slow-loading pages can cause the viewer to lose focus and potentially even click on something else, possibly never to return.

For instance, on search results, a delay of just .5 second chases away up to 20% of the traffic and revenue. As it says at this O’Reilly Radar post, “delays under half a second impact business metrics”.

At first this seems hard to believe – a delay of just one-half second causes up to 20% of the audience to click somewhere else? But in some ways this is easy enough to understand. We all use the Internet. We all tend to prefer fast-loading pages, and we all tend to dislike slow-loading pages, and may eventually even quit using them. While the difference between .5 second and 1 second doesn’t sound like much, it is over the threshold for some of us, apparently, and makes us want to go elsewhere, perhaps to a site that is just a little bit faster.

So if your business relies on a website to attract and retain customers – and what business doesn’t, these days? – this might already be impacting your business today.

And so, as businesses look to incorporate and leverage HTML5 to address these issues, and as they analyze their systems and infrastructure, many will find that the messaging layer is one key part of the formula for success.

Throwing hardware at the problem is not likely to fix it, unlike a bandwidth or throughput issue, because excess latency is generally not caused by insufficient hardware. Latency is usually the result of a choke point of inefficiency somewhere – the software, the hardware, or mis-allocation of resources (e.g., memory, as in not enough buffers, or processor power, whether absolute speed or number of cores).

In addition, there are often good business and technical reasons to deploy applications across various network links with varying speeds. But undetectable latency delays on the Internet might be much more detectable on a WiFi connection because of the relative speed differences: the latency that is just 5% of the total end-to-end response time on the public internet might become 80 or 90% of the end-to-end response time on a WiFi connection.

Latency, then, is not just for the ultra-low latency capital markets any longer. More and more every day, and whether you realize it or not, latency matters across lines of business and to anybody that runs a website and cares about maximizing page views and gaining (and retaining) customers. And messaging technology, like Ultra Messaging, is a key piece of the puzzle for reducing latency.

Your audience cares about it, as shown by this research, and if your competitors prioritize on latency, and you don’t, you take a risk that can hurt your business.

For more, see our webinar replay Ultra Messaging and HTML5: Extend Your Applications to the Web. See our whitepaper Ultra Messaging: Next Generation Architectural Benefits. Watch our customer testimonial videos at Ultra Messaging Zero Latency Tour 2009 – Selected Panel Sound Bites.

This entry was posted in Customer Acquisition & Retention, Financial Services, Operational Efficiency, Public Sector, Telecommunications, Ultra Messaging and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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