Does Time To Interactive (TTI) affect revenue and website performance?
Is Time for Interactive (TTI) Affecting Revenue and Website Performance?
One of the emerging website metrics that publishers are starting to pay close attention to is Time to Interactive (TTI). This is a website speed measurement that has rapidly gained popularity through its inclusion in Google’s latest Pagespeed Insights reports. The metric itself looks at the time it takes for web content to become interactive and visible to visitors.
TTI has become a staple of page speed optimization and is often mocked by Google and others as one of the most important metrics for websites to look at when working on site speed and performance.
With all the web obsession over speed, we thought it might be a good idea to take a look at how TTI correlates with other important metrics for publishers.
The study below includes correlations between TTI and other metrics for over 1,000 different types of web publishers.
What is Time To Interactive (TTI)?
Interactive time is a metric that calculates the time it takes for a website to be visible and interactive for the visitor. TTI provides a more detailed understanding of the time it takes for a website visitor to access the information they are likely to want and need from a page.
TTI is often seen as a better metric for visitor experiences than metrics like page load time, time to first byte (TTFB), or response completion time. This is why it has been adopted by many of the big platforms and web advocates as a core speed metric to optimize around.
TTI is often considered the “site speed metric 2”. First Contentful Paint (FCP) is known as the 1a as it describes the first time any important page element or content loads visibility for the visitor. TTI largely reflects when that content becomes readable and actionable for the visitor.
TTI is seen as superior to FCP for understanding visitor experiences because it is more reflective of when a visitor can extract what is needed from the page. FCP often doesn’t represent a time when a visitor can start reading or interacting with content so the experience isn’t as optimal until the content becomes interactive.
How does TTI correlate with revenue and visitor experiences?
We examined approximately 1,500 sites for the month of March 2019 to review how TTI might correlate with things like bounce rates, page views per visit, session length, and website ad revenue.
We found that the average TTI does correlate with some of the objective visitor experience metrics, such as bounce rate, but found no significant correlation between TTI and overall website ad revenue.
Additionally, we looked at how TTI compared to other site speed metrics to see if it was predictive of overall visitor speed versus common metrics like average page load time.
We found no significant correlation to suggest that avg. page load time has the same effect on visitor experiences or website revenue to the same degree that we saw TTI have on these important metrics for publishers.
We adjusted for outliers in each of the charts below and believe we have strong statistical confidence among the website types represented to provide an objective perspective on these issues.
How does TTI affect page RPM?
We look at Page RPM instead of EPMV due to the potential impact that TTI could have on users’ time on the page or their propensity to bounce. Since we’ve seen both metrics impact overall Page revenue, we were interested in seeing if initial Page revenue was affected by TTI.
It’s important to note that page RPM is not a good metric to measure ad revenue revenue or performance. As mentioned above, we are simply looking at how it could be affected by page load, which could affect overall session revenue (EPMV), which is a much better indicator of website revenue performance .
TTI does not correlate very strongly with page RPM.
After accounting for outliers, TTI doesn’t appear to be a great predictor of page RPM. While Page RPM seems to increase slightly for sites with TTI below 2.5s.
Most sites with a TTI below 10s experience roughly the same opportunity for an above average page RPM.
Does TTI correlate with website bounce rates?
Yes. We did find that there was a slight correlation between TTI and website bounce rates, although it was not as high for these publishers as is often touted across all websites (including non-publishers) according to TTI’s own research. Google.
In our dataset, we measure bounce rate differently than Google Analytics’ default settings. We measure a bounce as a single page view lasting LESS THAN 30 SECONDS. This is a more precise and granular way of understanding visitor intent; especially for informational publishers or publishers who rely on Google Search for most of their traffic.
There is a gradual trend that we see in bounce rate increases and how they correlate with longer TTI measurements. What is a bit surprising is that there was only a 45% increase in average bounce rates among the sites with the lowest average. time for interactive and the sites with the highest average. time to interactive measurements.
Time to impact interactive time on page?
We already know that TTI has an impact on bounce rates (single page views less than 30 seconds). This means that there will be a somewhat obvious correlation between TTI and the amount of time a visitor spends on their initial pageview.
The correlation is actually very slight. You can see the average page view duration decreasing slightly on the trend line as the avg. site THAT TTI goes up.
It is very important to note that most outliers that exceed the average page view duration times have a TTI of at least 10 seconds. In fact, all sites with an average pageview duration of 8 minutes saw a TTI of less than 8 seconds. Average page view duration didn’t really start to trend downward for most publishers until TTI reached beyond 7.9 seconds.
It seems that most publishers have sites with a TTI that is low enough to prevent them from experiencing a significant decrease in page view duration.
If there is one tip for publishers looking to maximize time on page (which correlates with better ad rates in many cases), we recommend getting TTI below 10s if possible.
Average TTI and its correlation with total page load time
Not surprisingly, the highest correlation we found when examining how TTI affects website revenue, user experiences, and speed measurements was the correlation between TTI and total page load time. It is somewhat counterintuitive that if a site takes longer to initially load content than the total time to load the page would be longer as well.
Total page load time is the point at which a visitor’s browser fully loads a page, including all scripts, ads, and assets.
Does total page load time affect page RPM?
We found that total page load time had no significant correlation with objective visitor experiences or website ad revenue beyond the correlation we see between TTI and total page load time.
Not surprisingly, TTI is a better predictor of how revenue is affected by page speed. TTI is what will be most likely to affect a visitor’s physical ability to access and engage with the content. Visitor engagement is what advertisers look for when placing ads on a page. That’s why we strongly improve Total Session Revenue (EPMV) when publishers increase engagement time on their website.
The advantage in reviewing this particular data is that if a publisher wants to focus on site speed as a means of improving visitor experiences and website revenue, they should focus their attention on improving TTI over total time page load or TTFB (which had the poorest correlation with revenue and bounce rates).
What is a good time for interactive (TTI)?
Often, it’s easy to simplify questions by asking what a “good” web metric is. While the act of comparison can be a useful way to compare aspects of your web property, it’s important to remember that every site is different. A better way of saying this might be that all audiences are different.
As we see above, bounce rates, page RPMs, and other metrics influence many sites in different ways. TTI is not a metric for which we can easily establish an optimal number.
The average TTI of the +1,000 publishers in our previous dataset was 5.2s. This included a wide mix of different publishers. This includes data from major brands, bloggers, and even informational sites with audiences that have limited access to a fast internet connection. An acceptable or optimal TTI will be different for each of them.
For brand publishers and bloggers with audiences located primarily in countries with fast internet connections, we found that the average TTI was lower than the overall average.
Whether optimizing for bounce rates, page RPM, or even page view duration, we actually saw that the threshold for non-optimal TTI scores is much higher than someone would normally predict.
In most cases, bounce rates, page RPMs, and time on page were not statistically negatively affected unless the average TTI was above 10s for most sites.
If a publisher is looking at what they can do with this information, the key takeaway might be to try and optimize TTI to be below 10s on average.
How do I get a lower TTI (interactive time) on my website?
Server response time and hosting will play a role in all of this. It’s worth monitoring average server response time and understanding how your host might be influencing TTI. More importantly, implementing a CDN (content delivery network ), such as Cloudflare, can also go the way of improving TTI.
(For Ezoic users: Ezoic offers a free CDN through the caching app in the app store)