Performance of social networking sites – Index from Keynote Systems for April 2014


By Thomas Gronbach

The social networking homepages were significantly slower in April than they had been in March, falling from a 1.90s average load time to 2.02s. This continues the downward trend in speed from February to March and brings the collective load time above the Keynote recommended maximum of two seconds. In terms of reliability, the sites performed better in April than they did in March. The only site consistently falling under the recommended minimum of 99 percent availability, LinkedIn, achieved a 99.78 percent success rate this month. This resulted in all of the social network homepages being available for 99 percent of the time or more – a great achievement.

There were some notable spikes in April, for example, Friends Reunited dipped to 89.69 percent availability on April 10th. This could have happened for a number of reasons, such as a promotion or advert increasing traffic to the site and the resulting pressure may have caused the site not to load as it should for some visitors. Flickr also saw some changes in April, and from the 18th to the end of the month, the average page size increased from 1.86MB to 3.98MB. As a result, Flickr’s average response time increased by 0.58s (up to 3.20s), an increase that could prove damaging to customer relations if it continues in May.

Flickr had the most severe change in response time of the social networking homepages and this is likely due to changes on the page – the number of objects increased from 32 to 38 and the page size increased from 1.84 MB to 2.81 MB. Other social networks also had a similar experience; Bebo saw an increase in its average load time from 3.84s to 4.37s, which may have been due to the increase in object numbers from 33 to 52 and page size from 0.92 MB to 1.09 MB.

April tells a clear tale to the social networks that offering a consistently good customer experience is vital. Not only did April see instances where there was a dramatic change in customer experience – Friends Reunited – but it also saw longer term changes that prove the impact site composition can have on the average time a homepage takes to load. Changes in performance will impact customer retention and in a competitive marketplace, where speed and availability matter, this is something which can sort the winners from the losers.


About the author

Thomas Gronbach is the director of marketing in Europe for Keynote Systems. He’s responsible for marketing Keynote’s web and performance management and mobile cloud testing products. Prior to Keynote, Thomas worked at Fujitsu – a Japanese enterprise IT provider – where he was responsible for developing go-to-market activities and marketing strategies for Fujitsu’s cloud product offerings. Thomas has also held a number of roles at Oracle. Thomas holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Computer Science from Berufsakademie in Stuffgart, Germany and a Master’s in Sports Management from the University of San Francisco.

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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