February 10th, 2017

When Gridiron Success Leads to Website Gridlock

It was the first Sunday in February and all eyes were glued to the TV to witness a well-orchestrated and thoughtfully executed game plan. For a select few, all of the year’s hard work and dedication will be on display in a winner-take-all scenario. But we’re not just talking about the football game. If your company dolled out millions to run an ad during the Super Bowl, your website better be ready for the prime time. If not, your brand runs the risk of learning the stark difference between infamous and famous.

Unfortunately for many, the spotlight of fame is not a pleasant one. Regardless of the source of increased website traffic, many do not realize the importance of their website infrastructure in delivering the next step of that winning message to your viewers.

Think about this: if 1% of the 111 million Super Bowl viewers went to your website during the advertisement, that’s 1.1 million concurrent users. Let’s say your average count of daily unique visits is 5,000 users between the hours of 8AM and 8PM. This equates to 417 users per hour, or broken down further, seven concurrent users per minute. Even if your site has never gone down before, there’s an overwhelming difference between seven and 1.1 million concurrent users in a one-minute period.

For those who previously overlooked this vital aspect of their marketing efforts, they already know how a multi-million-dollar investment can quickly veer into articles saying their website crashed. And even worse, they were unable to deliver the next step of their message to potential customers. Not exactly the first brand-based interaction they wanted.

How does a company, then, mitigate this risk and succeed beyond expected measure to reach the approval of their viewers?

It’s simple: website performance measurement, also known as load testing.

Depending on your source of heightened viewers and how many users are expected to navigate to your website, allocating the necessary resources may not seem to fit into the budget at first glance. But how much is too much to secure a $5.5 million 30-second investment?

In hindsight, I would wager that those who have experienced the negative effects of their website crashing due to heightened load would have paid a king’s ransom for exceptional website performance measurement services that would have otherwise prevented the outage from occurring.

So, let’s get down to it.

What exactly is website performance measurement? It’s the process of understanding strong user scenarios based on your business functions and purposes, developing fault-tolerant scripts to automate the process of users traversing your website with these scenarios, and then ramping up hundreds, thousands or even millions of concurrent virtual users to mimic the expected traffic that your promotion will facilitate.

Landing on the homepage, watching a video, searching content, adding products to cart, registering for accounts and checking out are all typical user scenarios that help collect performance metrics that are quantified and actionable to improving your website’s user capacity limitations.

Furthermore, the analytical data collected drills down to the granular asset level, giving you vision into the various influences on each asset that your website delivers to the end user. DNS lookup time, Time-to-first-byte, SSL/TLS connection time, send and receive time, these are all key performance metrics that have a significant impact on the strength and speed of your website while under load. They also give you the knowledge of knowing when and where your website falls behind, as well as the subsequent efforts for improvement, are vital to the success of your online presence.

In a time when marketing is king and seconds can affect years, don’t let an oversight blindside your success. If your website is an integral component of your company strategy, then you have to equip yourself with quantifiable and actionable information provided by the right team of experts in website performance measurement.

Neustar’s WPM (Web Performance Management) product and professional services team have been doing this for years, leading the market in website performance analytics while setting the bar for the highest standards in professional services and customer value. Make the right move and consult with a website performance measurement team that will help to secure the success of your direct and indirect online marketing efforts. As many football teams have already learned, there’s no such thing as a sure victory. 

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