Mobile-optimized websites are becoming the standard across the internet, and businesses that have yet to make this transition are about to suffer another major setback. After Google set the bar for mobile optimization — by establishing a mobile website index that prioritizes a mobile-optimized website over a non-optimized competitor — Facebook has announced it is taking a similar approach to content appearing in user news feeds.
Over the next few months, mobile-optimized content will appear more frequently and more prominently in Facebook users' news feeds. This change is part of an effort to maintain a better user experience by connecting users with content that loads quickly on their mobile devices.
In a press release, Facebook noted that this is related to its ongoing initiative to present users with content that is most relevant to their interests. Relevance, in the company's terms, isn't just the subject matter — it's also the kind of experience that content offers. Mobile optimization is now officially a factor in Facebook's consideration of relevance.
An Inevitable Step
For many who follow the trends in media, Facebook's decision comes as no surprise. It keeps pace with the organization's main competition with Google, but Facebook has far more incentive to focus on the mobile user experience. As Social Media Today pointed out, 94 percent of Facebook's user base accesses the site via a mobile device. A strong user experience for Facebook depends on responsive navigation and fast-loading content.
Facebook's press release noted that the challenges of slow-loading and non-mobile-optimized sites are universal on the internet. No matter where you go or what type of content you try to access, loading speed always impacts the user experience. Facebook noted that up to 40 percent of all web traffic abandons a site after waiting three seconds for content to load. In the wake of that metric, the social network has decided that the time has come for content creators to get serious about serving a mobile audience.
It's All About Speed
Facebook's decision to prioritize brands that offer a mobile-optimized website is all about accommodating the customer's desire for a faster experience. Facebook already adjusts the type of content users see based on the speed of their internet connection — with a slower connection, you're less likely to see videos and more likely to see status updates and static links to external websites.
Businesses are rolling the dice by refusing to make their sites more mobile-friendly. If you have a client who is unclear on how to make these changes, be sure to reference Facebook's best practices for improving mobile site performance.