Facebook will prioritise fast-loading content in user’s news feeds after tweaking its algorithm to take into account how long it takes to surface a web page from the mobile app. This move is likely to push more brands to use the social giant’s Instant Articles format in order to deliver relevant news that loads quickly.
Facebook revealed that just a three-second wait can drive up page abandonment rates significantly and is hopeful that the latest change will allow its user base to spend more time with the engaging written content that they want to consume on the social platform. The update is expected to roll out “during the coming months.”
“Factors such as the person’s current network connection and the general speed of the corresponding web page will be considered. 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 said in an official blog post.
Facebook has posted a new “best practices” guides for brands and publishers that want to ensure that they are not adversely affected by the new algorithm. It includes steps to reduce page load speeds, but brands would also benefit greatly from converting content to the Instant Articles format, which is optimised for mobile and is promoted as a “new way” for publishers to “create fast interactive articles.”
The updated algorithm will take a range of factors into account, including a web page’s estimated load time, a user’s connection speed and the speeds of other web pages on a website. Wen and Guo added that if all the signals suggest that the content will load quickly, then it will be bumped further up a user’s news feed.
Facebook also added a new Custom Audience option for ads on Wednesday. It will allow brands to target consumers who have engaged with specific events with ads across Facebook, Instagram and the Audience Network. Users who said that they were interested or RSVP’d can also be targeted. The new feature will help brands leverage their existing customer base more effectively and is aimed at encouraging others to use Facebook’s events features.