Facebook to Punish Advertisers With Slow Sites

How quickly your mobile site takes to load will soon impact whether people will see your Facebook ads, the social network announced.

As Facebook put it, they will consider “website performance and a person’s network connection in our ad auction and delivery system.”

Could that mean advertisers will pay more if they have slow-loading websites? That isn’t clear yet, but it will be worth watching over the coming months to see if advertisers with slow load times have to pay higher costs than advertisers with speedy sites.

To help advertisers provide faster experiences, Facebook is introducing prefetching.

How Does Prefetching Work on Facebook?

This means Facebook will download mobile content (both organic and advertising) in advance.

“Today, we’re introducing prefetching – pre-loading mobile content in the Facebook in-app browser before a link is tapped,” Facebook said. “This can shorten mobile site load time by 29 percent or 8.5 seconds, improving the experience and decreasing the risk of site abandonment.”

According to a Facebook help page, prefetching works like this:

“For each News Feed mobile ad, Facebook attempts to predict how likely a person is to click on an ad. If the prediction score meets the requirements, we prefetch the initial HTML page when the story first appears on a person’s screen. This content is cached locally on the person’s device for a short amount of time. If the person clicks on the ad, Facebook loads the initial page from the cache. The initial page then makes regular web requests to the publisher’s server to load the remainder of the page. We currently only cache the initial HTML page. Keep in mind that the CSS, Javascript or images on the website are not cached.”

The Benefits of Prefetching?

Prefetching will help advertisers in two ways, according to Facebook. It will

  • Reduce mobile site load time. More people are on mobile devices and they want fast sites.
  • Reduce the number of people who abandon your site before it fully loads. Facebook noted that 40 percent of people will abandon a site that doesn’t load in 3 seconds.

The big goal here is increasing ad performance and engagement. If you have an ad that takes users to a slow-loading site, that ad will most likely underperform in terms of engagement, which means you’ll pay more.

How Else Can Advertisers Optimize For Mobile?

Facebook also offered five bits of advice for businesses on how to optimize their sites:

  • Minimize landing page redirects, plugins and link shorteners
  • Compress files to decrease mobile rendering time
  • Improve server response time by utilizing multi-region hosting
  • Use a high-quality Content Delivery Network to reach audiences quickly
  • Remove render-blocking JavaScript

Much like Google, Facebook has been trying to make the overall mobile experience faster. On the organic side, Facebook introduced Instant Articles to provide users with articles that load super fast.

Image Credit: Depositphotos (modified by author)