Facebook is set to introduce new technology that will "pre-fetch" mobile web links provided by advertisers and if the resulting website takes too long to load or isn't mobile-optimised, may prevent ads from showing.
The bold move by the social network is based on research that shows that up to 40 per cent of website visitors will abandon a site after a three second delay, demonstrating how important speed is in converting clicks into actual engagement.
"The speed with which a mobile website will load is one factor our ad delivery system will use to determine which ads to show to people," said Matthew Idema, director of ad products marketing at Facebook. "
The pre-fetching technology will not just identify slow content but help to speed it up for advertisers, by pre-loading mobile content in Facebook's in-app browser before links are tapped. This can shorten mobile site load time by up to 29 per cent, improving user experiences and decreasing site abandonment.
"There are still huge opportunities that exist for marketers on mobile, but in order to realise those opportunities, people need to have consistently great experiences," said Greg Stuart, CEO of the Mobile Marketing Association. "The poor performance of marketers' mobile websites, including slow page load times, continues to be an issue and is conditioning people to navigate away before they ever see the content or products they want.
"This also causes headaches for measurement systems who are trying to piece together what people are clicking on, watching or buying. We are looking into ways to help marketers optimise their mobile sites as we believe this will help improve the entire industry."