Welcome!

AppDynamics the World Leader in APM and DevOps

AppDynamics Blog

Subscribe to AppDynamics Blog: eMailAlertsEmail Alerts
Get AppDynamics Blog via: homepageHomepage mobileMobile rssRSS facebookFacebook twitterTwitter linkedinLinkedIn


Related Topics: eCommerce Journal, Time Series Journal, Obama Live News , Marketing and Sales

Blog Feed Post

How We Synthetically Monitored the Republican Presidential Debate

image_pdfimage_print

Last week marked the first (of many) Republican presidential debates leading up to the 2016 election. All politics aside, we at AppDynamics were eager to see the investment these candidates made in their digital platforms, and how response time would be affected throughout the debate. As we saw with President Obama’s campaign efforts, modern-day candidates will substantially use their digital web presence for fundraising and branding efforts. A seamless website with quick performance becomes vital during peak periods.

To test these candidates’ websites, we put the new AppDynamics Synthetic Monitoring tool to gauge their loading speed times, and ultimately, the end-user experience.

The Test Methodology

We measured the main homepage of the websites for each Republican candidate every 30 minutes from two locations (VA and OR) using the Chrome browser for the full week leading up to the debate, ultimately averaging the response times to get a baseline. This initial controlled baseline would serve as the benchmark to show how exactly the debate affected the websites’ response times.

Starting at the beginning of the debate on August 6th and continuing every five minutes throughout the duration of the debate, our synthetic agents tested the end-user response time, first render time, fully loaded time, number of elements loaded, and the “page weight” (size in MB) of the fully loaded website.

Since we didn’t know exactly which candidates would be participating in the debate until about a day prior, we measured all of the typical suspects, even the ones who ended up not participating.

Here are the websites we monitored:

The Results

To save you from an eyesore dashboard graphic, we broke candidates into groups of five so the results become more visible.

Here are the results from Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Scott Walker, and Ted Cruz:

Here are the results from Lindsey Graham, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, and Rand Paul:

Here are the results from Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, and Rick Santorum:

Analysis

For quick comparisons sake, we created this easily-digestible graphic comparing the participating candidates’ websites before and after the debate, using end-user response time as the main metric.

As you can see, Donald Trump’s website fared the best both before the debate and after. Jeb’s website launched some major changes just prior to the debate, resulting in the biggest mover and success story. Our original hypothesis was the traffic would spike, resulting in higher response times. However, Jeb was able to actually lower his response time with the changes. After analyzing the data a bit more, we can see the decrease in response time was because the new page design decreased the total load from 7.8 MB to just over 1 MB.

Chris Christie was also able to significantly lower his response time, dropping from 9.5 to 6 due to changes in the page design. Analyzing the data further shows he actually reduced the entire page load from 6 MB to 2.2 MB. Our resident mobile expert, Peter Kacandes, states that on average each MB of page weight costs about 6 additional seconds in response time.

In the diagram below, you can see the time series data of the Bush (blue line) and Christie (green line) homepages showing the size of the homepage. While Christie’s team changed their homepage to reduce the size a few days before the debate, the Bush web team made the change to their homepage right before the debate and then changed it back to the regular design shortly after the debate was over.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 12.25.15 PM.png

What This Means Moving Forward

It’s tough to make sweeping predictions or allegations from a basic test of website loading times, however, it’s important to note a few growing trends where digital performance plays a major role.

Fundraising

What Obama pioneered during the 2008 election is that by correctly using social media, Facebook in particular, and maintaining a viral web presence, you can raise a lot more money than the traditional methods. I won’t say Donald Trump will lead in fundraising simply because his website loads the fastest, but I will say that website performance is key to gaining money. If a page takes too long to load, stalls, or crashes, a would-be donor will likely become annoyed and possibly change their mind. In this respect, campaign fundraising could actually learn a lot from e-commerce best practices where their application performance is directly tied to their revenue.

Release Cycles and Preparedness

As we saw with Chris Christie and Jeb Bush altering their website to be more lightweight in times of heavier traffic, other candidates should take notice and do the same — looking at you Scott Walker and Ben Carson.

To appease user experience and satisfaction, a faster website could provide dividends during peak times such as future debates or even primary election nights. For candidates, brand value is of the utmost importance, and it’s important to understand the balance between providing a lot of information and providing a good user experience without risk it with slow website load times.

Full Results

Before the Debate

Candidate Web Site

(Ranked by End User Response Time)

End User Response Time (s)

First Render (s)

Fully Loaded (s)

Elements Loaded

Complete Load (MB)

www.donaldjtrump.com

2.2

2.1

14.8

95

2.10

www.marcorubio.com

3.9

3.8

5.6

75

2.30

www.johnkasich.com

5.8

4.4

6.7

62

2.70

www.mikehuckabee.com

6.2

3.7

6.3

105

1.02

www.randpaul.com

8.3

2.0

12.4

117

5.10

www.tedcruz.com

8.7

3.4

9.8

107

2.20

www.chrischristie.com

9.5

2.3

14.2

96

6.00

www.bencarson.com

11.2

2.9

12.5

144

1.50

www.jeb2016.com

12.7

1.3

14.1

81

7.80

www.scottwalker.com

14.1

6.0

17.2

134

3.50

           
           

OUT:

         

www.ricksantorum.com

5.5

3.9

6.1

56

1.05

www.georgepataki.com

5.5

2.5

5.7

68

1.80

www.bobbyjindal.com

5.7

4.6

11.1

88

1.70

landing.lindseygraham.com

8.2

4.7

10.3

97

2.20

www.rickperry.org

11.7

4.2

19.5

105

9.30

www.carlyforamerica.com

14.7

2.9

15.9

120

5.90

After the Debate

Candidate Web Site

(Ranked by End User Response Time)

End User Response Time (s)

First Render (s)

Fully Loaded (s)

Elements Loaded

Complete Load (MB)

www.donaldjtrump.com

2.3

2.2

14.7

96

2.10

www.georgepataki.com

5.1

2.6

5.2

66

1.81

www.ricksantorum.com

5.2

3.8

5.6

53

1.03

www.jeb2016.com

5.9

1.6

6.1

62

1.04

www.chrischristie.com

6.0

2.0

8.8

80

2.20

www.marcorubio.com

6.3

3.8

8.2

82

3.80

www.johnkasich.com

6.5

4.8

7.9

73

2.70

www.mikehuckabee.com

6.6

3.2

6.9

113

1.61

www.bobbyjindal.com

6.7

4.6

13.2

127

3.00

landing.lindseygraham.com

7.7

4.7

9.6

95

2.11

www.tedcruz.com

8.3

3.8

9.4

106

2.20

www.randpaul.com

8.4

2.6

10.6

131

3.40

www.rickperry.org

10.6

4.1

17.9

107

8.65

www.bencarson.com

12.8

2.9

14.4

146

1.50

www.scottwalker.com

13.5

6.3

16.2

131

2.74

www.carlyforamerica.com

14.9

3.0

15.9

119

5.94

Interested to see how AppDynamics Synthetic Monitoring can improve your website appearance? Check out a FREE trial today!

The post How We Synthetically Monitored the Republican Presidential Debate appeared first on Application Performance Monitoring Blog | AppDynamics.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By AppDynamics Blog

In high-production environments where release cycles are measured in hours or minutes — not days or weeks — there's little room for mistakes and no room for confusion. Everyone has to understand what's happening, in real time, and have the means to do whatever is necessary to keep applications up and running optimally.

DevOps is a high-stakes world, but done well, it delivers the agility and performance to significantly impact business competitiveness.