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Core Web Vitals: Farewell FID, Hello INP

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals Get an Upgrade

As you may know, March 2024 was the start of a significant shift in the world of Core Web Vitals. First Input Delay (FID), the metric measuring a page’s initial responsiveness, said goodbye, making way for its successor, Interaction to Next Paint (INP). This transition is intended to provide a more holistic view of interactivity and visual stability on web pages. It’s anticipated this change will have a meaningful impact on ecommerce SEO rankings.

FID measures the time from when a user first interacts with a page (e.g., clicking a link) to the time when the browser is able to respond to that interaction. The issue with FID was that it only focused on input events and didn’t account for other user interactions like scrolling or zooming, which can also create glitches.

INP takes a broader view. INP measures the time from any user interaction to the next visual change or paint on the screen. This provides a more complete representation of visual stability regardless of what type of interaction triggers visual updates. Some examples of interactions that INP measures beyond inputs are taps, clicks, scrolls, zooms, orientation changes, focusing form fields, etc.

Why the switch? Although FID served us well, it had limitations. It didn’t consider long-running tasks or interactions happening off the main thread, potentially missing crucial aspects of real-world user experience. INP addresses these shortcomings, providing a more comprehensive picture of how responsive a page feels overall.

As you can see from the chart below, comparing both FID and INP metrics against a broad range of websites, moving to INP lowers the overall percentage of sites that qualify as “Good”, dropping from 93% to 75%.

The Impact of FID vs INP on Core Web Vitals

                                                                                                                                                 Source: Cloudfare

Subsequently, any ecommerce website that ignores this shift does so at their own risk.

With INP needing to be below 200ms for any interaction to qualify as good, the elements to focus on are things like hovering or clicking on navigation, accordions, drop-down menus, or screen pop-ups. It’s okay if certain elements load slower as long as you provide the visitor with an acknowledgment (e.g., a spinner) that their action is being performed.

If you haven’t already addressed this change, it’s not too late. The first place to start is by understanding your site’s Core Web Vitals data in the “experience” section of your Google Search Console account. Based on the results of your Core Web Vitals performance, there are a number of steps you can take to improve your scores.

We’ll discuss what some of those are in our next update.