Live chat is an important conversion tool for many websites. It gives your visitors a way to reach out to you to request products and services, ask FAQs, and to get support when they need it. However, live chat can slow down your page load time significantly.
When it comes to weighing the cost/benefits of having live chat vs having a fast loading site, which one should you prioritize? Especially considering the impact of Core Web Vitals.
Live Chat Increases Conversion Rates
Does live chat really increase conversion rates? Here are 7 studies that show live chat boosting conversion rates. We’ve tested the data with our own clients and have found this to be true for them as well. Here’s why:
- It feels more human (interactive).
- It feels more instant.
- It feels more personal/less formal than email.
- It facilitates self-service.
- It gives you more insight as to where on your site people are getting ‘stuck’ in the conversion path.
As long as you are actively monitoring your chat or have a chatbot in place to collect information so you can get back to people in a timely manner, you can reasonably expect to see live chat make a positive impact for your website conversion rates.
Live Chat Slows Down Page Speed
Just how much does live chat slow down your page speed? Do a search for your live chat option + “page speed” and you’ll likely find hundreds of articles and forum chats about it.
Slow page load times from 3rd party widgets and plugins is common, but it can be a surprise to see just how much the chat tools can slow down your page load time. Debugbear.com did all the legwork to identify just how much page load was impacted by different chat plugins; you can read their findings over here.
See how fast your page loads by viewing your analytics data or using a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights.
Google likes a nice, fast loading page and will give ranking priority to quick loading pages over slow ones (with many other factors considered alongside those). Is having live chat on your website going to impact your rankings? The answer is somewhere between “it depends” and “it’s complicated”.
The main factor you’re really going to want to consider when assessing if you should scrap your live chat is “Dwell Time”
Dwell time is the length of time a person spends looking at a webpage after they’ve clicked a link on a SERP page, but before clicking back to the SERP results.
You know this time well. It’s the “does this page have what I’m looking for?” time.
Factors that play into Dwell Time include:
- Bounce rate
- Click-through rate
- Session duration
If live chat is slowing down your page to the point where people quickly bounce and continue their search on other sites, you’ll want to consider changing up how you currently have it.
If live chat is keeping people on the site to ask questions, is guiding them to other pages and resources, and if they’ve satisfied the reason for their search, you may want to keep it. Even if it’s slowing down your page load time.
Speeding Up Page Load Time for HubSpot Chat
HubSpot’s built-in chat tool slows down page load -- but there is a fix for it. In your HubSpot account, navigate to Conversations > Chatflows then edit the chatflow in question. Under Display > Triggers you’ll see the option to change when the chat appears. Selecting “Time on Page” will delay the chat from loading for a set amount of time, which will reduce the total amount of time it takes for your page to load.
HubSpot recommends setting the time on page delay to 5 seconds.
Not sure if you should turn your chat on/off or if you’re even doing this ‘chat thing’ right to begin with? Let’s chat about chat and get you on the right path to increased on-site conversions.