Improving Audience Engagement and Retention by Optimising Core Web Vitals Optimising Site Speed for Daily Maverick
As a leading player in a fiercely competitive digital media landscape, Daily Maverick recognised the importance of delivering fast and seamless loading news content to its readers. Despite previously investing in site speed optimisation, Daily Maverick had yet to see significant improvements in engagement and retention rates.
The Google News Initiative (GNI) aims to drive digital innovation and transformation to support sustainable and thriving news ecosystems. Previously, Google worked with Daily Maverick through an innovation grant to create RevEngine, a software platform that creates a unified view of the reader by bringing data from various sources into one central repository. This time, Google agreed to fund a pilot project in partnership with the Daily Maverick and Incubeta in order to enhance reader engagement, subscriptions and drive increased traffic to the Daily Maverick site.
As a Google Agency partner, we supported this project by conducting a user experience (UX) audit to review where the mobile site’s CWV scores could be improved, particularly with regards to speed and responsiveness to boost user engagement and ultimately conversions.
During our audit, we found lazy loading was incorrectly applied to critical above-the-fold imagery including the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) image – the best measure of perceived page speed. The lazy loading of incorrect elements also contributed to unexpected layout shifts in page loads. In order to speed up the LCP and reduce unexpected layout shifts across various templates, we recommended that the client refines their website’s lazy loading configuration to exclude above fold imagery and to preload the LCP element with a further fetch priority “high” directive. Furthermore, we enhanced the loading of Google Publisher Tags and self-hosted other third party code to reduce the impact of a high number of http requests to ultimately improve average page speed.
Historically, news publishers have wanted to make changes but lacked the internal expertise in this area to put recommendations into practice. We worked closely with Daily Maverick and the Google team to implement these recommendations that resulted in a significant improvement in user experience, engagement and ultimately conversions.