Performance of social networking sites — Index from Keynote Systems for November 2013

By Robert Castley

The social network homepages were collectively slower in November than in October. Only six out of the 11 site homepages achieved an average load time of less than two seconds – the Keynote recommended maximum load time – this month, compared to seven falling into this bracket in October. In terms of availability, similarly to last month, ten out of the eleven sites achieved a successful load rate above Keynote’s recommended minimum of 99 percent. The site which didn’t make this level of service did change, however; in October it was Wayn that only achieved a successful average load rate of 98.81 percent, whereas in November it was LinkedIn which fell below par with a 97.75 percent success rate.


Significant homepage performance changes from October to November came from Wayn – which was a lot faster to load, YouTube – which was also faster to load, and LinkedIn – which was slower to load and less reliable. For Wayn, its faster average load time – an improvement from 1.43 seconds in October to 1.04 seconds in November – was particularly impressive because there appeared to be minimal changes to the actual composition of the site in terms of the number of objects and page size. The YouTube UK homepage, by contrast, could put its decrease in average load time down to the decrease in page size from 0.41 MB to 0.38 MB. LinkedIn saw the biggest increase in response time, as it took an additional 0.59 seconds for its homepage to load on average. Worse still, not only was the page slow, but it was also unreliable with an average successful load rate of 97.75 percent, significantly lower than the other sites.

It’s inevitable that in the run up to Christmas more people are active online, and whether they are buying Christmas gifts or co-ordinating get-togethers, social media is becoming increasingly integrated with these online activities. Social shopping has been reported to be one of the next big trends, in terms of both recommendations by friends on the networks and dedicated shops, but good performance must be maintained if this channel is going to live up to such predictions. Social networks are also becoming the de-facto way to organise and communicate. As many people are too busy for multiple calls and texts, group messages on social media sites are becoming much more popular. As traffic to these sites increases, however, delivering a good customer experience will be tougher and the social networks need to be sure they do enough load testing to cope with a rise in the number of users. Keeping ahead of competitors with better performance is critical to the success of a social network, as it is increasingly determining brand reputation and user retention.

About the author

Robert Castley has been a solutions consultant at internet testing and monitoring specialist Keynote, for over three years. Prior to working at Keynote, Robert worked as a Professional Services Consultant at a document management company, Macro 4, where he worked on developing custom web interfaces. He regularly engages with customers and has an in-depth technical knowledge in web development. One of his proudest achievements is developing one of the world’s most popular Open Source Content Management Systems to the masses – Mambo, which now lives on as Joomla!

Robert is an authoritative spokesperson on web performance and regularly participates in industry events on the topic. Robert is passionate about the need to provide the optimum experience for internet users, irrelevant of the device they are using. He advocates a ‘three screen approach’ that provides a consistent experience whether a website is being accessed via mobile, tablet or desktop computer.

About the company

Keynote Systems is the global leader in Internet and mobile cloud monitoring. It provides companies with solutions for continuously improving the online experience. Founded in 1995, Keynote provides testing, monitoring and measurement products and services for any enterprise including online portals, e-commerce sites, B2B sites, mobile operators and mobile infrastructure providers. Keynote products and services help companies improve customer experience in four areas: Web performance, mobile quality, streaming and real user experience testing.

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