Facebook earlier today announced that it will start ranking fast-loading webpages and sites higher on its News Feed. The company cited a 40 percent abandonment rate at the 3-second mark after clicking a link as the main reason for the decision.
Anyone that’s clicked on a link and then sat and twiddled their thumbs waiting for a webpage to load knows how frustrating it can be. Facebook is getting to the heart of the matter by prioritizing fast-loading webpages.
The primary target for this move is mobile users. Facebook already makes more than 85% of its advertising revenues from the mobile segment, and it’s logical that they would want to optimize the platform for users or mobile devices.
Facebook intends to show more fast-loading stories and fewer slow-loading ones. To achieve this, the Facebook app will assess webpages before they are served on the News Feed. This is what the company says:
“Factors such as the person’s current network connection and the general speed of the corresponding webpage will be considered. If signals indicate the webpage will load quickly, the link to that webpage might appear higher in your feed.”
The company has advised site owners to review their websites and ensure that their load times are optimized for mobile. They’ve also provided a list of best practices that site owners can follow.
Publishers that have faster-loading websites are at an obvious advantage here. Though Facebook will never reveal the algorithm used to pick posts for the News Feed, it’s safe to assume that those with the most relevant and useful content will be prioritized. The new criterion is how fast their webpages are able to load on mobile devices.
Facebook has confirmed that this change will be rolled out gradually over the “coming months,” and it’s likely that they’ll do extensive work in a test environment before using this method globally.