Dear media companies and other publishers, Facebook is not here for your slow-loading web pages.
Now, it will punish you for them.
Facebook announced Wednesday it will lower the ranking of a web page appearing in News Feed if Facebook’s technology detects it will load slowly.
Facebook did not disclose how slow is too slow, but Wednesday’s blog post did include a statistic that “40 percent of website visitors abandon a site after three seconds of delay.”
The news was revealed in a leaked blog post, shared by The Next Web‘s Matt Navarra:
The update is great news for publishers who have fast-loading websites, of course.
“If signals indicate the web page will load quickly, the link to that web page might appear higher in your feed, Facebook engineers Jiayi Wen and Shengbo Guo wrote in the blog post.
For the average Facebook user, it’s obvious why the social network would make this change. Facebook makes money by having its users see as many ads as possible, which means spending as much time as possible on the app. If a user clicks a link that loads slowly, they may get frustrated, close the Facebook app all together, andheaven forbidgo to Google.
But for publishers, they’re (once again) being forced to adopt their sites to something that could contribute to less revenue. Slower websites could mean a richer visual experience, which could imply more videos, a.k.a. ad dollars.
Facebook has a solution: Use Instant Articles, its tool that publishers can use to upload their articles directly into Facebook and therefore have them load within a second.
Though the company does not implicitly call out the Instant Articles program in the blog post, Facebook media relations team has long been pushing the initiative on companies. It’s a better experience for the users, they say.
Yet publishers, including the New York Times and The Guardian, have abandoned Instant Articles, for now, saying that they see more success in subscriber rate without the program.
Regardless of whether they jump onboard again, all publishers will have to prioritize fast-loading web pages if they ever hope to get through to the 2 billion people on News Feed.