For those of you who don’t follow football (the real one), Leicester City won the 2015/16 Premier League title in one of the most remarkable underdog triumphs in sporting history. This was the club’s first championship in their 132-year history.
In fact, Leicester City were 5,000/1 to win the Premier League last August.
That was 10 times more unlikely than finding the Loch Ness Monster, and almost thrice as unlikely to find flying pigs.
As expected, Twitter exploded after the win.
This had a ripple effect on the entire internet’s performance in the UK. On average, sites took twice as long to load during this period of mayhem.
The gambling sites, apart from losing money on the incredible odds, also lost big on performance; webpage response times jumped by almost 25 seconds on some cases.
Analyzing this bloodbath led us to the usual suspects: third-party content, specifically Twitter.
Below is the general snapshot of the performance of most Twitter URLs on webpages.
Hence every website that had Twitter integrated and loading it before Document Complete saw a spike in their Document Complete times by almost three times, some increasing even up to five times. Contrasting that with websites loading Twitter after Document Complete, the impact of Twitter on these websites is clear.
A consolidated scatterplot of the above drives home our point further: Loading third-party content before Document Complete is asking for trouble.
Social network integrations are essential to interact with users and drive marketing campaigns; but, integrating these components before your Document Complete is equivalent to placing your website’s remote control in your neighboring site. You could have the fanciest 4K television set, but without the remote control, you have no way to control it. Marketing tags are beneficial to your brand, but if your website doesn’t load, there’s nothing to promote.
Having said that, congratulations to Leicester City FC on winning the Premier League—even if they did finish 15th in our Web Performance Premier League.