December 19, 2013, 4:56 PM

A little heavy on the promotions maybe?

Mobile performance expert Keynote says mobile pages should weigh around 100 kilobytes for speedy page loads. Dell’s m-commerce site home page weighs 111 kilobytes. Oh, and 200 more kilobytes for promotional banners. Whoops.

Lead Photo

Three of the four banners that made the size in kilobytes of the computer maker's m-commerce site home page explode, Keynote says.

Dell Inc.’s promotional department was laying it on thick last week in the mobile channel. It ran four promotional banners on the computer maker’s mobile commerce web site home page. The banners collectively weighed in at 200 kilobytes. The banners plus the rest of the page came in at 311 kilobytes, well above the 100 kilobytes recommended by mobile and web performance management firm Keynote to achieve speedy page loads.

As a result, Dell’s mobile commerce site home page loaded last week on average in a slow 10.56 seconds, Keynote says. By comparison, the mobile home page for Toolfetch.com LLC loaded last week in a swift 3.74 seconds, Keynote reports.

“Dell is a classic example where marketing material exceeds the actual core content,” says Keynote mobile commerce lead Venkatesh Giri.

However, Dell compensated for the heavy home page by improving mobile site availability by more than a quarter of a percent, increasing from 98.97% the week ending Dec. 8 to 99.25% the week ending Dec. 15, Keynote says. Pushing into the higher-than-99% site availability club, Keynote’s recommendation, Dell was able to jump up eight spots to No. 11 on the weekly Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index. Weighting and combining Dell’s page load and site availability (also known as success rate) earned the computer maker an index score of 682 out of 1,000, just above the index average of 651.

Rakuten.com Shopping topped the mobile performance index for the week ending Dec. 15 with an m-commerce site home page load time of 4.69 seconds, a success rate of 99.74% and a score of 977. Toolfetch.com came in second with a load time of 3.74 seconds, a success rate of 99.47% and a score of 932. And Sears Holdings Corp. came in third with a load time of 3.95 seconds, a success rate of 99.24% and a score of 872.

The index average load time was 9.22 seconds, the average success rate was 98.90% and the average score was 651.

Click here then click on Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index Part 1 and Part 2 to view complete results for all 30 retailers on the index.

Keynote measures 30 representative m-commerce sites exclusively for Internet Retailer. The sites include merchants in multiple categories and channels, and of multiple sizes, ranging from such giants as Amazon.com Inc. to mid-sized retailers like Toolfetch.com LLC. Keynote tests the sites in the index every hour Monday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. through midnight Eastern time, emulating two different smartphones on two different wireless networks: Apple Inc.’s iPhone 5 on AT&T and the Samsung Galaxy SIII on T-Mobile, both using 4G networks. Keynote runs the tests in New York and San Francisco.

Keynote combines a site’s load time and success rate, equally weighted, into a single score. Given that both performance and availability are important, the score reflects the overall quality of the home page; a higher score indicates better performance. Scores also reflect how close sites are to each other in overall quality. The index average score is the midpoint among all the sites’ scores. To consistently rank high on the Keynote index, sites must hit availability targets of 99.5% or better and be faster than 10 seconds to load on average. Top-performing sites load in under five seconds.

While adoption among U.S. consumers has been steadily rising, only a fraction of all U.S. wireless connections are 4G. Consequently, retailers benchmarking their mobile commerce site performance against the Keynote index should keep in mind that most of their m-commerce site shoppers will experience page load times slower than those on the index.

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