Facebook is making changes to its News Feed, rewarding webpages with faster load times a higher place in the feed, and slow-loading pages will be downgraded and likely see less referral traffic.
In a blog post, Facebook engineers Jiayi Wen and Shengbo Guo said the change is in response to frustrations from the Facebook community over slow-loading websites.
According to Facebook’s engineers, 40 percent of people won’t wait more than three seconds for a page to load, and Facebook wants to make sure people can spend more time reading the stuff they want.
Facebook will now take into account the speed of a network connection, and the general speed of a website. If both the connection and the site is slow, the link will be lower in a News Feed.
The company points to a post on best practices for making faster loading websites.
However, publishers using Facebook’s Instant Articles format will not see a decrease, as the format strips bulky code and restricts ads for a faster load experience.
Facebook did not mention any potential boost for Instant Article users.
In response, Luca Collacciani, Senior Director, Web Performance, EMEA, Akamai Technologies, explains why this latest development is set to raise the bar for publishers and brands.
“It’s no surprise that consumers demand fast loading content – half of mobile users will leave a page altogether if it takes more than three seconds to load,” Collacciani said. “With attention spans only getting shorter, it’s imperative that businesses ensure their site performs as well as it can – otherwise they risk losing engagement, and customers in the process.”
“The latest development to Facebook’s newsfeed – favoring content that’s quick to load, and demoting content that isn’t – will create a filter bubble, in which consumers only receive content that’s well optimised. The result? Even shorter attention spans, and a raised bar for businesses.”
“This will have a monumental impact on businesses and news sites that use the platform as an audience development tool. Of its two billion + users, it’s estimated that 44% use Facebook as their primary news source. The power of the channel can’t be understated, and nor can the importance of fast loading, optimised content.”
Read the Facebook blogpost here