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

By Robert Castley


The homepages for the social media networks improved performance-wise in December compared to November.  In terms of response time, the sites were 0.1 seconds faster, resulting in the average load time decreasing from 2.27 seconds 2.17 seconds.  Reliability also improved and the successful load rate increased from 99.66 to 99.71 percent. 


In particular, Pinterest and LinkedIn both improved the experience they offered to users.  Pinterest saw its most significant improvement in response time, where the homepage took an average of 1.4 seconds to load in December compared to 1.53 seconds in November.  For LinkedIn, reliability improved the most, increasing from 97.75 percent in November to 98.27 percent in December.  LinkedIn is, however, still performing much worse than the other sites in terms of availability, as all the other sites are achieving at least the 99 percent recommended minimum load success rate month on month.  Flicker was the only site to perform noticeably worse in December, as visitors were left waiting an additional 0.12 seconds for the site to load, amounting to 2.36 seconds total average load time.  The site was also less reliable, falling from a 99.97 percent successful load rate in November to 99.51 percent in December.


It was great to see the social media sites performing so well during the busy Christmas period.  For a good customer experience sites should load in under two seconds and correctly more than 99 percent of the time.  Only one site failed to reach the 99 percent goal – LinkedIn – and the overall index average response rate became closer to the recommended two second mark – 2.17 seconds in December.  The site performance success over the Christmas period could be due to a couple of causes; the sites may have ramped up their capacity to cope with demand over Christmas, or perhaps this is an indication of social networking trends.  There may have been less traffic to the social media sites during the Christmas period because people may have been more concerned with meeting friends and family in-person, and this would have reduced strain on the homepages.  It will be interesting to see how the sites perform in January, when the seasonal Christmas pressure is off and many people return to work and university. 



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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