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Why marketers should care about website performance testing

Companies all around the world rely on business applications to execute critical transactions all day, every day. There’s no such thing as a normal day, unusually high demands such as promotional or seasonal trading can be a regular occurrence, making it crucial that these applications’ environments are constantly prepared for the extreme.

Those who are left unprepared are vulnerable to service outages, customer dissatisfaction and trading losses – and often when it hurts the most. The London 2012 Olympics ticketing and more recently Nationwide Building Society are perfect examples of how a massive website failure or glitch can affect the customer’s experience in purchasing tickets or banking online.

According to an independent global research study undertaken by Vanson Bourne, even minor delays to website response times can have a sizable impact on customer satisfaction, page views, conversion rates and site abandonment. Despite this, an astonishing percentage of organisations (32%) do not know if their website is monitored on a 24x7 basis. 

Businesses cannot afford to lose customers just when their users need them the most.  Not only can it lead to an astronomical loss of sales, it can lead to the loss of reputation - something businesses may find harder to recover.

The barriers to optimum website performance

Whilst traditional stress or performance testing in both the application and the application infrastructure is well proven – it can be costly. 

The cost of buying performance test software tooling, including the purchase, deployment and maintenance can be a huge barrier to businesses investing in tools that can ensure optimum web performance.

Similarly, departmental silos can add another layer of complexity to the problem. Traditionally, website performance was considered an IT problem but as marketers become increasingly tech – savvy with the rise of digital marketing, a poor performing website is a big problem for both departments. Siloed objectives that exist between marketing and IT can result in miscommunication, differing objectives and requirements.

Yet for the marketing department, a failed website can have detrimental effects on seasonal promotions and sales. Often the website peaks and troughs are driven by marketing activity but marketers need to ensure that their website can handle an increase in traffic and is ready for peak performance.

How cloud based testing has become an enabler

There are alternative solutions that significantly reduce both the initial and ongoing costs without compromising any of the rigour that is required. 

Cloud-based performance testing will ensure capacity even in the most extreme performance scenarios. By allowing test teams to instantly deploy existing performance test scripts to cloud-based load generators, the load is created on pre-configured systems provisioned in the cloud. This eliminates the effort and cost related to extending the on-premise test infrastructure which only the highest-load scenarios would need.

In addition, cloud-based services can provide a diagnosis of any performance related issues when they arise - giving teams the detailed diagnostics they need to pinpoint the nature and location of the problem in order to remediate quickly. Combined with an on-premise performance monitor, it’s straightforward to understand the demands on the server infrastructure in the data centre, providing end-to-end transparency.

A streamlined approach

Performance testing is imperative for applications to perform as expected in the real world. In particular, business critical applications need thorough testing to ensure they can bear the stresses and strains of the varying demands that companies have for their products and services. Combining cloud capabilities with traditional approaches provides the optimal model to achieving high confidence in production performance, with better agility and economy than using traditional methods alone.

Though testing cannot alone solve the disparity between marketing and IT departments, it can however make both departments work together to set objectives and define combined requirements for projects. 

By implementing a performance testing solution via the cloud, the IT department can more effectively and affordably manage heavy loads on the company’s website and as a result the marketing department will not suffer from wasted marketing efforts and low sales – to secure the business’ future success.