Facebook is pushing advertisers to make their mobile experiences faster, or face being penalised

Facebook is pushing brands to make their mobile ads faster

Facebook is pushing advertisers to improve their mobile sites in order to boost user experience and make it easier for businesses to drive value from the platform.

The world's biggest social network wants brands to build better mobile experiences that load quicker in order to stop visitors abandoning advertisers' sites within Facebook's own in-app browser, according to a report from Forbes.

As such, it is making two updates to its system. Starting from today (31 August), Facebook will be "pre-fetching" advertisers' mobile sites before users click on an ad to reduce mobile-site load times. The second change, which will be rolled out in the coming months will start to take into account factors like the landing page speed of a mobile site, and users' network connection in digital ad auctions and delivery.

The moves follow on from an internal study conducted by the social behemoth which found that pre-loading branded sites can shorten mobile site load times by 29 per cent - or just over eight seconds.

"People use Facebook to connect with businesses, find content and research and purchase products," Facebook’s vice-president of monetization product marketing Matt Idema told Forbes.

"A lot of the time, those experiences depend on the mobile websites of our advertisers. What we’re seeing is businesses have yet to invest across the board in their mobile experiences as much as in their legacy desktop experiences"

He continued: "It’s really a problem we’re looking to work with the industry to help solve."

Facebook's native formats, including Instant Articles for publishers and its Canvas mobile offering, already help the social network's app run ads in a timely manner, but today's update follows in the footsteps of Google - which overhauled its mobile search function last year to prioritise web properties designed for smaller screens.

According to an Adobe study, brands with websites which don't follow Google's mobile rules have suffered a 10 per cent dip in traffic, as well as a 16 per cent increase in their traffic costs, or CPCs. The effects of this so-called 'mobileaggedon' from the search giant may well serve as an incentive for advertisers to take note of Facebook's fresh stance.

Facebook has said it wants to give brands plenty of notice that their site loading times will affect ad auctions, should they wish to update their sites ahead of the roll out. It's also poised to give businesses more tools to help otimise their mobile experiences.

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Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is a reporter at The Drum. She primarily writes news, analysis and features around brand marketing and digital innovation. She has interviewed key figures from the likes of Airbnb, Amnesty International, Unilever, Facebook and Spotify, as well as covering international events like Ad Week Europe, Dmexco and Ciclope.

All by Rebecca