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A guide to understanding Google’s Core Web Vitals 

author

Nea Bjorkqvist

April 22, 2022 | 3 min read

In 2021, Google updated its search algorithm to favor sites with top-performing Core Web Vitals in its results. The update prioritizes on-site experience and ensures Google not only connects users with helpful content but also with websites that have exceptional user experiences. 

In this blog, we deep dive into Google’s Core Web Vitals, how they impact your site’s user experience, what the industry benchmarks are, and how you can improve your website performance

What are Web Core Vitals (CWV)? 

Core Web Vitals measure loading time, interactivity, and visual stability via the following three signals:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), or the time it takes for a page’s primary piece of content to load. 
  • First Input Delay (FID) is the delay a user experience when interacting with the page for the first time. 
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures page stability, by monitoring significant movements of the elements on the page that may frustrate or mislead the user. 

Why are Web Core Vitals Important? 

Today’s users want answers quickly. If your site takes too long to load or if the page layout is unstable, they’ll most likely become frustrated and go elsewhere. 

Web Core Vitals help you measure whether your site’s meeting user expectations, allowing you to understand what needs improvement. Optimizing your site’s Core Web Vitals can help you:

  • Decrease bounce rates
  • Boost visitor retention
  • Increase conversions
  • Optimise your site for search engines

Web Core Vital industry benchmarks 

By seeing how your site stacks up against industry benchmarks, you can identify what areas of your site you need to improve and ensure Google doesn’t penalize your site.

So, in our 2022 Digital Experience Benchmark Report, we monitored the Core Web Vitals of thousands of leading websites from 14 industries. Here’s what we found…

See how your website stacks up

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Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) benchmarks per industry

For a good user experience, sites should aim for a Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) score of 2.5 seconds or less.  

Our analysis found that the industries with the highest percentage of Good LCP scores are fashion, home goods and services, and automotive. This suggests that these industries have invested time and resources into optimizing their content to ensure a quick experience for their users.

Industry Good (< 2.5s) Needs Improvement Poor (>= 4.0s)
Automotive 66% 18% 16%
B2B 65% 18% 17%
Energy 67% 16% 16%
Financial Services 68% 16% 16%
Pharmaceuticals 58% 21% 21%
Media 69% 16% 15%
Consumer Electronics 68% 17% 15%
Fashion 64% 19% 16%
Grocery 63% 18% 18%
Health & Beauty 66% 18% 17%
Home Goods & Furnishings 69% 17% 14%
Luxury 60% 22% 19%
Telecoms 52% 21% 27%
Travel & Hospitality 62% 19% 20%

 

First Input Delay (FID) benchmarks per industry

A low First Input Delay (FID) score means the page is usable and responsive. For a good user experience, sites should aim for an FID score of 100 milliseconds or less.

Our data revealed that the industries with the best average First Input Delay scores are energy and pharmaceuticals, with 94% of websites gaining an FID score of less than 100 milliseconds. On the other hand, fashion had the lowest number of websites gaining a ‘Good” FID score, at just 88%.

Industry Good
(< 100ms)
Needs Improvement
(> 100 ms and < 300ms)
Poor (> 300ms)
Automotive 92% 5% 3%
B2B 92% 5% 3%
Energy 94% 5% 2%
Financial Services 92% 6% 2%
Pharmaceuticals 94% 4% 2%
Media 91% 6% 3%
Consumer Electronics 91% 6% 2%
Fashion 88% 8% 4%
Grocery 92% 5% 4%
Health & Beauty 91% 5% 4%
Home Goods & Furnishings 93% 4% 3%
Luxury 91% 6% 4%
Telecoms 89% 7% 4%
Travel & Hospitality 93% 4% 3%

 

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) benchmarks per industry

To provide a good user experience, sites should aim for a CLS score of 0.1 or less. A low CLS score means the page is less likely to unexpectedly change, therefore giving customers a more seamless experience. 

Our benchmark data showed that the industries with the best scores for CLS are B2B, energy, and financial services. With long-standing websites that typically rely less on rich media, it’s a little surprise these websites come out on top. 

Industry Good (< 0.10) Needs Improvement Poor (>= 0.25)
Automotive 67% 12% 21%
B2B 78% 11% 12%
Energy 75% 13% 12%
Financial Services 78% 10% 13%
Pharmaceuticals 71% 15% 14%
Media 74% 12% 14%
Consumer Electronics 71% 14% 16%
Fashion 59% 15% 26%
Grocery 66% 15% 20%
Health & Beauty 66% 13% 21%
Home Goods & Furnishings 65% 15% 20%
Luxury 64% 14% 22%
Telecoms 67% 12% 20%
Travel & Hospitality 65% 14% 21%

 

How to improve your Web Core Vitals 

There are multiple website optimizations you can make to boost your Web Core Vitals and in turn your overall site experience.  Here are just a few improvement suggestions you should consider (if you haven’t already): 

  • Break down long-running code into smaller, asynchronous tasks.
  • Use a web worker to run JavaScript on a background thread
  • Analyze and improve the efficiency of your server-side code to directly improve the time it takes for the browser to receive the data.
  • Introduce a content delivery network (CDN) to avoid your users having to wait for network requests to faraway servers.
  • Include size attributes on all video and image elements to ensure the browser allocates the correct amount of space while the element loads.
  • Pre-load your fonts so the font assets have a higher priority in page rendering, and don’t move the page around by loading after the page has been rendered.
  • For animations, use the transform (scale) property in CSS to avoid unexpected layout shifts.

Want more benchmark data on website performance? 

Download our 2022 Digital Experience Benchmark Report to get more industry insights into Core Web Vitals, acquisition sources, browsing behavior, and conversion patterns!