In the role of CMO, the speed of the website is probably not near the top of the list of priorities. (Why would an IT issue be the concern of the top marketing dog, afterall?)
Yet it would be a mistake to simply relegate site speed to IT because it has plenty of effects on marketing. And at the center of this concern are the Core Web Vitals.
The principal reason for site speed to sit within the realm of marketing is that an absolute spectacular marketing campaign flush with compelling content cannot compensate for sluggish website speed that infuriates users.
Put another way, 3 seconds of loading makes 53% of visitors give up and leave the website. All that hard work and creativity pumped into marketing is wasted on more than half of potential customers.
Core Web Vitals
Google’s tripod of metrics is an attempt to provide clearer visibility on what goes into creating a better and faster user experience on a website.
Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift are the largest structures in Google’s landscape, which is populated with many more site metrics surrounding them.
The tripod of Core Web Vitals ultimately helps to gage what is happening (the page loading and server response); the interactivity (clicking and scrolling engagement); and the stability (the structure of content).
Said another way, Core Web Vitals puts the user experience front and center stage of web development.
Let’s break down these three parts of the user experience and look at them in deeper detail.
The first step is the initial contact between a user and the website. It is the initial response of the webserver to the browser. This part measures Largest Contentful Paint.
Specifically, Largest Contentful Paint measures how long it takes the largest block of content or image, to become visible to the user.
The second part relates to the initial feedback to the user that the page is working. This is where First Input Delay comes into play. This metric measures the lag in response time between when the user taps on a link and when it becomes interactive.
You land on a page and click a link… but then nothing happens. Is the website frozen? Is it broken? Put simply, the website is still useless.
First Input Delay, more specifically, measures the time it takes from clicking a button or link to the time when the browser responds.
With the main images in place and with the user being able to interact with the site. However, that doesn’t mean that the website is fully loaded. It’s likely that if the user tries to do something, the page may freeze or content blocks may move around.
Using Cumulative Layout Shift can bring in insightful information regarding the page layout.