By Jiayi Wen, Engineer, and Shengbo Guo, Engineer
We’re always listening to our community to understand how we can improve their experience of News Feed. 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. As many as 40 percent of website visitors abandon a site after three seconds of delay.
During the coming months we’re making an update to News Feed to show people more stories that will load quickly on mobile and fewer stories that might take longer to load, so they can spend more time reading the stories they find relevant.
Taking Loading Time Into Account
With this update, we’ll soon take into account the estimated load time of a webpage that someone clicks to from any link in News Feed on the mobile app. 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.
For years, we have taken many factors into account to make sure people quickly see relevant stories to them — including the type of device you’re on or the speed of your mobile network or wifi connection. For example, if you are on a slower internet connection that won’t load videos, News Feed will show you fewer videos and more status updates and links. And to help load stories faster for people on slow or poor network connections, we prefetch stories by downloading mobile content before someone clicks a link, which we’ve seen can shorten load time for webpages by more than 25%.
Will This Impact My Page?
This update will roll out gradually over the coming months. We anticipate that most Pages won’t see any significant changes to their distribution in News Feed. Webpages that are particularly slow could see decreases in referral traffic. To help webpages avoid experiencing potential decreases, we’re sharing tips to help site owners make their site faster and more mobile-friendly. See here for publisher best practices for improving mobile site load time.
As always, publishers should keep in mind these basic guideposts to reach their audience on Facebook and continue to post stories that are relevant to their audiences and that their readers find informative.