Visitor Monitoring Size Matters: March 3-Screen Shootout takes a look (Part 1) | Keynote

Size Matters: March 3-Screen Shootout takes a look (Part 1)

By Aaron Rudger | March 28, 2014

CATEGORIES: Web Performance

Does size matter? It does when it comes to website performance. Being fast is good. And bigger is not better. In the Keynote March 3-Screen Shootout we look at websites likely to see heavy traffic during the NCAA Basketball Tournament.  Our sites are broken into four brackets covering Sports Apparel, Food, Sports Media, and Universities. We’re monitoring popular sites throughout the tournament, capturing the user experience from the desktop, smartphone and tablet. When you look at the best and worst performing sites across three screens, you quickly notice that there is a direct correlation with the heaviest sites performing the worst. Let’s first take a look at Sports Apparel:

Sports Apparel


The NCAA Store was the best site over the last five days with an average download speed of 1.52 seconds. Nike pulled up the rear averaging 5.43 seconds, over three times as slow.


Bytes Downloaded: It should come as little surprise that these two also placed at opposite extremes with respect to page size. The Nike averages almost 2.8MB for their home page, while the NCAA Store site was a much lighter 690KB average.



Once again, the NCAA Store led the pack for the best performing site with an average response time of 1.24 seconds. Fanatics had the slowest performance averaging 3.23 seconds. It looked like Nike, for a short period on March 25th around 8:14 PM PT, actually improved their performance dramatically improving their average for the five day period.


Bytes Downloaded:Nike averaged over 2.6MB downloaded v. NCAA Store which averaged around 690KB.


But upon further inspection, a large number of failed measurements in this time period reducing the sample size in this narrow window, and creating a false sense of improvement, when in reality performance had degraded. Once again, for the tablet, size seemed to play a huge role in site performance.


During these failures, here’s what the users saw.

Failure on left. Successful measurement on right.


Sports Authority was the best averaging 13.17 seconds. Nike trailed the pack averaging 29.18 seconds. 


Bytes Downloaded: Once again, the size theme continues. Sports Authority averaged around 224KB while Nike averaged almost 1.3MB. Also notable is that Fanatics had a big jump in page weight on March 27th around 12:15 AM PT. Their site more than doubled in size by going from under 1MB to over 2MB. During this day their performance also took a hit.

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