Facebook Pushes Advertisers to Speed Up Their Mobile Sites – WSJ
Facebook wants advertisers to speed up their mobile websites and plans to limit where and when ads appear across its service if they point users to slow-loading sites.
Advertisers might soon find their ads aren’t delivered to mobile users with slow internet connections, for example, if their websites load slowly when users tap on those ads.
“Our goal is to give people the best ad experience possible on mobile. By considering website performance and a person’s network connection, we can improve that experience and help drive the outcomes advertisers are looking for,” a Facebook spokesman said.
In a post published to its Business News page on Wednesday, Facebook outlined a number of ways advertisers could technically improve their websites for better load times. It suggested improving their sites for mobile by minimizing landing page redirects, using less code and compressing files.
“Many businesses haven’t optimized their website for mobile yet and still have very slow loading times. This can lead to negative experiences for people, and problems for businesses such as site abandonment, missed business objectives and inaccurate measurement,” the post said.
As much as 40% of website visitors abandon a site once there has been a loading delay of 3 seconds, Facebook said, citing a report by technology research company Aberdeen Group.
For its part, Facebook said it would begin “prefetching” advertisers’ websites to help speed up their loading times even further.
This will essentially involve Facebook’s app pre-loading a version of an advertiser’s site before a user even taps on an ad, which Facebook said can shorten mobile site load time by up to 29%, improving the experience and decreasing the risk of the consumer leaving the page and moving on to something else.
The social network has already been “prefetching” content posted to its service from publishers’ websites, a Facebook spokesman said. It’s now extending that functionality to advertising.
Advertisers won’t need to opt-in to have their sites preloaded by Facebook, nor will they have the option to opt-out. Facebook will determine which content it will preload, based on how likely it believes users are to tap on different ads.
Facebook also pointed to “mobile-optimized” publishing solutions it offers, as an alternative to advertisers driving users off Facebook to their own websites. It offers an ad product called Canvas, for example, which enables advertisers to publish detailed advertising content directly to the social network itself.
Meanwhile, Facebook offers a similar feature for publishers in Instant Articles, whereby they can post their content directly to Facebook’s systems and have it load faster for users as a result.
Facebook’s online ad rival Google has similarly been pushing marketers and publishers to speed up their mobile websites. The company uses page load speed as a signal to rank websites on its search engine results pages, for example, and it launched a project called Accelerated Mobile Pages in October.
As part of that initiative Google also announced its AMP for Ads project, which is designed to help marketers and their agencies build faster ads with a set of collaborative industry technology standards.