Performance of social networking sites — Index from Keynote Systems for January 2014

By Robert Castley

The social media sites performed particularly well in January compared to previous months. On average, the response time was quicker by 0.24 seconds, down from 2.17 seconds in December to 1.93 seconds in January. This is particularly significant because it means that the social media network homepages’ average response time is below the Keynote recommended maximum of two seconds. In terms of availability – the chances of a site loading correctly when visited – the sites continued to perform well, as was the case in December, only one site fell below the 99 percent successful load rate minimum. What’s more, the site which suffered the worst availability score – LinkedIn – had increased its successful load rate from 98.27 percent in December to 98.99 percent in January, and so in fact only marginally missed the 99 percent benchmark.

One site that saw significant improvements in December was Friends Reunited. Its average response time fell from a lengthy 5.99 seconds in December to 3.84 seconds in January. This is most likely due to the huge reduction in the size and number of objects on the homepage; page size fell from 2.40 MB to 1.32 MB and the number of objects fell from 203 to 130. Facebook also saw an improvement in its load time from December to January, as its average response time fell from 1.22 seconds to 1.06.

Wayn, on the other hand, performed worse in January than it did in December. The homepage took an average of 1.22 seconds to load in January, compared to 1.06 seconds the previous month. This is most likely due to an increase in the size of the page and number of objects contained on it; page size rose from 1.12 MB to 1.19 MB and objects from 47 to 52.

It is encouraging to see the social media sites, on average, dip below the two second threshold in January. This is the longest any visitor should be made to wait for a homepage to load and, while the social media index still has candidates at the top and bottom of the performance spectrum, it’s good to see websites getting speedier on the whole. In particular, Friends Reunited has made vast improvements to its homepage and this will likely result in a much better experience for customers.

There could be a number of reasons for the overall good performance we can see in January and page construction seems to be an important factor for the likes of Facebook and Wayn. In addition to this, however, users may have been using social networks less frequently as annual catch-ups and festive celebrations came to an end, therefore putting less pressure on the sites to perform.


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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