Load speed increases, huzzah
If you’re one of Facebook’s estimated 1.74 billion monthly mobile users, you’ve likely experienced the unpleasantly inconsistent loading times for external links and content.
Thankfully, the folks over at Facebook heard your cries of consternation and are purportedly bringing faster-loading links to the Facebook app.
Link Abandonment is Real
According to the document produced by Facebook, up to 40 percent of users abandon a clicked link if it fails to load within three seconds. Apart from being a sad bit of commentary on our collective patience levels, this statistic speaks to how devastating slow load times are for traditional websites; in a mobile-dominated world, there isn’t really room for slow links if one wants to make a living.
Facebook’s first proposed change is more News Feed reorganization.
Instead of showing links in the order of posting priority, you will instead see links that are projected to load faster—given things like your connection strength and the website’s speed—before you’ll see the slower-loading links.
This isn’t so much fixing the problem as hiding it, but at least the content you see first will be significantly less frustrating.
Trying to Make Prefetch Happen
Facebook will also continue the practice of prefetching data, which downloads mobile content for the purposes of loading linked websites faster. Presumably, as these updates continue to roll out, Facebook will prioritize prefetching over loading other components within the mobile app.
Ultimately, the changes Facebook is implementing appear to be more cosmetic than mechanical.
Instead of showing users who are on a slow device or connection links and videos, Facebook will instead display more text-heavy posts at the top of the News Feed. This will no doubt mess up some users’ “See First” priorities, but, again, belaying frustration is better than perpetuating it—presumably.
Your Page Behavior
Facebook insists that your pages shouldn’t be affected by these changes, which roughly translates into “Your pages are going to change and there’s nothing you can do to fix that.” In order to ensure that your content reaches the largest number of devices, you may want to begin transitioning into more text-based and photo-based posts (a la Twitter).
Keep an eye on your analytics as Facebook rolls out these changes, and you should be fine.