Facebook’s News Feed to Webpages: Be Quick or Be Gone

News Feed will be updated to prioritize stories that load quickly on mobile at the expense of those that take longer

Facebook users have expressed a need for speed in News Feed, and the social network announced plans to oblige them “during the coming months.”

Engineers Jiayi Wen and Shengbo Guo announced in a Newsroom post that News Feed will be updated to prioritize stories that load quickly on mobile at the expense of those that take longer to load.

Wen and Guo said a delay of just three seconds causes 40 percent of website visitors to abandon sites on the internet as a whole, adding that the change to News Feed is aimed at enabling users to spend more time reading stories they find relevant.

Facebook’s News Feed algorithm will begin taking webpages’ estimated load times on the social network’s flagship mobile application into account, also factoring in users’ current connection speeds and the general speeds of the corresponding webpages.

The two engineers said that if signals indicate that a webpage will load quickly, the link to that webpage may appear higher in users’ News Feeds.

They indicated that most pages should not experience significant distribution changes in News Feed, although those that load particularly slow may see less referral traffic, and Wen and Guo pointed site owners to these best practices for making their sites quicker and more mobile-friendly.

Image courtesy of Manuel-F-O/iStock.