Mobile March Madness: Website Performance Matters More Than Team Performance
April 24, 2015

Peter Galvin

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The majority (58 percent) of March Madness viewers said poor mobile or online performance while streaming or following games is worse than seeing their favorite team perform poorly, according to the March Madness performance survey conducted online by Harris Poll, commissioned by SOASTA.

Millennial (18-34-year-old) females who follow the tournament are most worried about performance issues (85 percent) compared to 71 percent of millennial male viewers. The female millennial demographic was more likely than any other age group to express concerns about how performance would impact their viewing experience, with 85 percent expressing concerns compared to the average of 54 percent concerned overall. Among those who follow the tournament, key differences between millennials’ concerns and those of their elder counterparts include:

■ 52 percent of millennials cite slow loading times as a concern, compared with 31 percent among age 35+

■ 36 percent of millennials cite apps or websites crashing as a concern, compared with 16 percent of those age 35+

■ 31 percent of millennials cite unresponsiveness as a concern, compared with 18 percent of those age 35+

Top concerns across overall include:

■ Slow loading times – 37 percent

■ Lag-time and time delays – 28 percent

■ Crashing – 22 percent

■ Unresponsiveness – 22 percent

■ Does not respond to taps, swipes or zooms – 13 percent

A poorly performing app or website when tracking the games was worse than watching their favorite team play badly for 58 percent of those who follow the tournament. Examples of situations when apps or websites do not work that are worse than a poorly performing team include:

■ When they need to get live updates about the tournament – 27 percent

■ When they are trying to watch a live stream of a game – 26 percent

■ When they need to find game time – 23 percent

■ When they need to get information about a team or player – 19 percent

■ When they need to multitask and keep track of the tournament while at work – 16 percent

■ When they need to place a bet – 10 percent

■ When they need to gloat about a team’s success – 9 percent

Those ages 18-44 are more likely than those aged 45+ to follow the game while multi-tasking at work, 25 percent vs. seven percent, respectively.

Of those following March Madness, 65 percent consider online or mobile activity to be critical for following March Madness – including 86 percent of 18-34-year-olds. Activities considered to be critical for following the games include:

■ Keeping an eye on March Madness brackets – 36 percent

■ Watching live streams of games – 26 percent

■ Tracking game and player statistics – 25 percent

■ Ordering food – 11 percent

■ Checking work email – 11 percent

■ Connecting with fans and participating in social media – 10 percent

“As audiences increasingly turn to online and mobile platforms to participate in March Madness, they demand uncompromising performance,” said Tom Lounibos, CEO of SOASTA. “Our study shows that millennial viewers are the most demanding demographic when it comes to quality mobile and online user experiences. With so much competition for the billions in economic value at stake during the tournament – and especially the final four – companies must prioritize app and digital performance more than ever before.”

Survey Methodology: This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of SOASTA from March 25-27, 2015 among 2,011 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

Peter Galvin is SVP of Marketing at SOASTA.

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