Facebook is not here for other media companies and their slow-loading web pages. In fact, 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.
The social media kings did not disclose how slow is too slow, but their blog post Wednesday did include a statistic that “40% 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:
— Matt Navarra ⭐️ (@MattNavarra) August 2, 2017
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.
The average Facebook user knows why the social network would make this change. Facebook makes revenue by having users see as many ads as possible at one time, which means they want you to spend as much time as possible on the app or website.
If a user clicks a link and it loads slowly, they get frustrated, close Facebook, and Google it. That’s the way the internet works now and days.
But for publishers, they’re 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.
Even though Facebook does not call out the Instant Articles program in the blog post, Facebook media relations teams have pushing that innovation on companies. They want what is best for the users and they believe this is the best way to optimize user experiences.
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 on-board 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.