Facebook has announced it will soon start giving News Feed preference to faster loading web pages.
Pages that load quickly (possibly faster than three seconds according to the announcement), will be shown to more users on the News Feed than pages that take longer.
In announcing the update, Facebook revealed that as many as 40 per cent of website visitors abandon a site after three seconds of delay.
“We’re always listening to our community to understand how we can improve their experience of News Feed,” read a statement from engineers Jiayi Wen and Shengbo Guo.
“We’ve heard from people that it’s frustrating to click on a link that leads to a slow-loading webpage. In fact, even more broadly on the internet, we’ve found that when people have to wait for a site to load for too long, they abandon what they were clicking on all together.”
The development is bound to draw attention to Facebook’s Instant Articles feature, which enables publishers to deliver a speedier user experience regardless of their website speed.
Instant Articles have become a familiar site to Facebook users but have struggled to gain significant traction and this latest update will be seen as an attempt to encourage more publishers to adopt the format.
Facebook have reiterated that factors such as a user’s network connection and type of device will be taken into account and won’t have a detrimental impact on how a web page is ‘scored’.
The update will be rolled out gradually over the coming months, and Facebook insists that most pages won’t see significant changes to their reach. However, web pages that are “particularly slow could see decreases in referral traffic”.
The development probably doesn’t mean that marketers who haven’t yet implemented Instant Articles will suddenly start losing post views in droves. However, it’s a safe bet that publishers who are signed up to Facebook’s proprietary feature will be immune to the News Feed changes, so it’s definitely worth looking into if you haven’t yet taken the plunge.