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Web Vitals

Essential metrics for a healthy site

Optimizing for quality of user experience is key to the long-term success of any site on the web. Whether you're a business owner, marketer, or developer, Web Vitals can help you quantify the experience of your site and identify opportunities to improve.

Overview

Web Vitals is an initiative by Google to provide unified guidance for quality signals that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web.

Google has provided a number of tools over the years to measure and report on performance. Some developers are experts at using these tools, while others have found the abundance of both tools and metrics challenging to keep up with.

Site owners should not have to be performance gurus in order to understand the quality of experience they are delivering to their users. The Web Vitals initiative aims to simplify the landscape, and help sites focus on the metrics that matter most, the Core Web Vitals.

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are the subset of Web Vitals that apply to all web pages, should be measured by all site owners, and will be surfaced across all Google tools. Each of the Core Web Vitals represents a distinct facet of the user experience, is measurable in the field, and reflects the real-world experience of a critical user-centric outcome.

The metrics that make up Core Web Vitals will evolve over time. The current set for 2020 focuses on three aspects of the user experience—loading, interactivity, and visual stability—and includes the following metrics (and their respective thresholds):

Largest Contentful Paint threshold recommendations First Input Delay threshold recommendations Cumulative Layout Shift threshold recommendations
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
  • First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.

For each of the above metrics, to ensure you're hitting the recommended target for most of your users, a good threshold to measure is the 75th percentile of page loads, segmented across mobile and desktop devices.

To learn more about the research and methodology behind these recommendations, see: Defining the Core Web Vitals metrics thresholds

Tools to measure and report Core Web Vitals

Google believes that the Core Web Vitals are critical to all web experiences. As a result, it is committed to surfacing these metrics in all of its popular tools. The following sections details which tools support the Core Web Vitals.

Field tools to measure Core Web Vitals

The Chrome User Experience Report collects anonymized, real user measurement data for each Core Web Vital. This data enables site owners to quickly assess their performance without requiring them to manually instrument analytics on their pages, and powers tools like PageSpeed Insights, and Search Console's Core Web Vitals report.

For guidance on how to use these tools, and which tool is right for your use case, see: Getting started with measuring Web Vitals

The data provided by Chrome User Experience Report offers a quick way to assess the performance of sites, but it does not provide the detailed, per-pageview telemetry that is often necessary to accurately diagnose, monitor, and quickly react to regressions. As a result, we strongly recommend that sites set up their own real-user monitoring.

Measure Core Web Vitals in JavaScript

Each of the Core Web Vital can be measured in JavaScript using standard web APIs.

The easiest way to measure all the Core Web Vitals is to use the web-vitals JavaScript library, a small, production-ready wrapper around the underlying web APIs that measures each metric in a way that accurately matches how they're reported by all the Google tools listed above.

With the web-vitals library, measuring each metric is as simple as calling a single function (see the documentation for complete usage and API details):

import {getCLS, getFID, getLCP} from 'web-vitals';

function sendToAnalytics(metric) {
const body = JSON.stringify(metric);
// Use `navigator.sendBeacon()` if available, falling back to `fetch()`.
(navigator.sendBeacon && navigator.sendBeacon('/analytics', body)) ||
fetch('/analytics', {body, method: 'POST', keepalive: true});
}

getCLS(sendToAnalytics);
getFID(sendToAnalytics);
getLCP(sendToAnalytics);

You can also report on each of the Core Web Vitals without writing any code using the Web Vitals Chrome Extension. This extension uses the web-vitals library to measure each of these metrics and display them to users as they browse the web.

This extension can be helpful in understanding the performance of your own sites, your competitor's sites, and the web at large.

  LCP FID CLS
web-vitals
Web Vitals Extension

Alternatively, developers who prefer to measure these metrics directly via the underlying web APIs can refer to these metric guides for implementation details:

For additional guidance on how to measure these metrics using popular analytics services (or your own in-house analytics tools), see: Best practices for measuring Web Vitals in the field

Lab tools to measure Core Web Vitals

While all of the Core Web Vitals are, first and foremost, field metrics, many of them are also measurable in the lab.

Lab measurement is the best way to test the performance of features during development—before they've been released to users. It's also the best way to catch performance regressions before they happen.

The following tools can be used to measure the Core Web Vitals in a lab environment:

  LCP FID CLS
Chrome DevTools ✘ (use TBT instead)
Lighthouse ✘ (use TBT instead)

Tools like Lighthouse that load pages in a simulated environment without a user cannot measure FID (there is no user input). However, the Total Blocking Time (TBT) metric is lab-measurable and is an excellent proxy for FID. Performance optimizations that improve TBT in the lab should improve FID in the field (see performance recommendations below).

While lab measurement is an essential part of delivering great experiences, it is not a substitute for field measurement.

The performance of a site can vary dramatically based on a user's device capabilities, their network conditions, what other processes may be running on the device, and how they're interacting with the page. In fact, each of the Core Web Vitals metrics can have its score affected by user interaction. Only field measurement can accurately capture the complete picture.

Recommendations for improving your scores

Once you've measured the Core Web Vitals and identified areas for improvement, the next step is to optimize. The following guides offer specific recommendations for how to optimize your pages for each of the Core Web Vitals:

Other Web Vitals

While the Core Web Vitals are the critical metrics for understanding and delivering a great user experience, there are other vital metrics as well.

These other Web Vitals often serve as proxy or supplemental metrics for the Core Web Vitals, to help capture a larger part of the experience or to aid in diagnosing a specific issue.

For example, the metrics Time to First Byte (TTFB) and First Contentful Paint (FCP) are both vital aspects of the loading experience, and are both useful in diagnosing issues with LCP (slow server response times or render-blocking resources, respectively).

Similarly, metrics like Total Blocking Time (TBT) and Time to Interactive (TTI) are lab metrics that are vital in catching and diagnosing potential interactivity issues that will impact FID. However, they are not part of the Core Web Vitals set because they are not field-measurable, nor do they reflect a user-centric outcome.

Evolving Web Vitals

Web Vitals and Core Web Vitals represent the best available signals developers have today to measure quality of experience across the web, but these signals are not perfect and future improvements or additions should be expected.

The Core Web Vitals are relevant to all web pages and featured across relevant Google tools. Changes to these metrics will have wide-reaching impact; as such, developers should expect the definitions and thresholds of the Core Web Vitals to be stable, and updates to have prior notice and a predictable, annual cadence.

The other Web Vitals are often context or tool specific, and may be more experimental than the Core Web Vitals. As such, their definitions and thresholds may change with greater frequency.

For all Web Vitals, changes will be clearly documented in this public CHANGELOG.