Study of Top 20 Digital Retail, Travel and Media Sites Reveals Best Practices for Delivering Digital Experiences
ThousandEyes, the company providing visibility into the Internet and digital experiences released the 2019 Digital Experience Performance Benchmark Report, a comparative analysis of web, infrastructure and network performance metrics from the top 20 US digital retail, travel and media websites. This research empowers website operations teams to benchmark their own performance metrics against their competitors and provides recommendations to help guide future performance management, content delivery and network architecture decisions as they aim to deliver the highest quality digital experiences for their customers. Notably, the research also establishes an industry-agnostic ‘Internet Performance Bar’, setting minimum performance thresholds that any digital company should strive to meet to deliver the best possible end-user experience.
“With this research, we hope to provide operations professionals the data and inputs they need to know which aspects of digital experience delivery to improve so they can ensure the best possible customer digital experiences.”
“One of the biggest challenges we have in website performance engineering is understanding what ‘good’ looks like. We lacked an industry-wide, competitive context for our performance,” said Mark Rodrigue, Sr. Network Engineer at Room & Board. “The ThousandEyes research finally shines a light on where we stand in relation to our competitors, and gives us hard data we can absolutely use to guide future infrastructure investments in the spirit of delivering the best possible website performance and digital experiences for our customers.”
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The Digital Experience Performance Benchmark Report is the third report in an ongoing series of research produced by ThousandEyes that is intended to help companies gain a data-driven understanding of how various aspects of Internet infrastructure impacts their digital experience delivery. The data for all three reports was gathered using the ThousandEyes platform, which uses active monitoring and global vantage points to measure application layer and network layer performance metrics for any website. The most recent research measured Internet, network, server and experience metrics every 10 minutes for 60 days across 36 major metros across the U.S. In total, over 300M unique measurements were collected and analyzed.
Key findings from the research include:
- Each industry displays unique performance patterns: The three measured industries (retail, media and entertainment, and travel and hospitality) display distinct performance cohort behaviors that differ from each other. For example, top retail sites fall into two distinct clusters of HTTP response times along a mostly uniform range of network latency, while media and entertainment sites saw a more uniform range of HTTP response times but with two distinct clusters of network latency.
- Significant performance variations exist, despite perceived market maturity: Performance variations across CDN providers, ISPs and geographies exist even in the highly mature US market. This makes real-time operational visibility from a variety of geographical and Internet user vantage points important so businesses can keep a real-time eye on unexpected performance blockers.
- Focusing on delivering strong DNS, network and HTTP response time performance will help most companies deliver top-tier digital experiences: 60% of sites with 1st quartile response times delivered DNS and network performance at or better than the median. Delivering near to or better than the median response time highly correlates with strong page load performance. 87% of sites that did so delivered 1st quartile page load times.
- A minimum Internet Performance Bar exists that, if met, should deliver top-tier website performance, regardless of industry: Given cross-vertical performance ranges across the gathered metrics, it is recommended that operations teams minimally target DNS time of 25ms, network latency to the CDN edge of 15ms and HTTP response time of 350ms, from all important markets within the U.S.
“Internet performance is an under-appreciated yet major contributor to digital experience, and in the battle for customer loyalty, every millisecond matters,” said Alex Henthorn-Iwane, report author and vice president of product marketing at ThousandEyes. “With this research, we hope to provide operations professionals the data and inputs they need to know which aspects of digital experience delivery to improve so they can ensure the best possible customer digital experiences.”