Facebook; Friend or Fiend – The Cost of Social Media

You need social media on your website right?” The Social Media experts have insisted it is a no brainer.” You have developed your social media strategy which the CEO has “Liked” and you have now instructed the development team to get the Buttons, Links and Like numbers on your web pages.”” Now you just need to relax as the website goes viral on FB and Pinterest.

But wait!” What has adding those buttons done to the performance of your website? Invariably, we find that social media items are placed into websites in sub optimal ways such that they slow down the page and even block the most important content on the page from appearing in front of the browser.

The Potential Cost of Adding Third Party Content

There have been a number of cases over the last couple of years where problems with Facebook like buttons appearing on pages have caused problems with the pages themselves and hence lost revenue for the websites which use them.” Look at what happened to this poor website when Facebook was slow;


Source: http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/01/facebook-outage-affects-other-sites/


Worse than this there have been examples of social media integrations bringing websites offline altogether.

Aside from highly noticeable outages and significant performance degradations, the performance of the social media content coming into a page can regularly be quite poor even on a day to day basis.” This impacts the performance of the page on an ongoing basis.” Check out the following data from some of our customers” browsers – Facebook Performance.”” Fortunately for our customers, we have decoupled these Facebook load times from affecting their overall page load times otherwise there would be seconds added to each page load.

Avoiding the Cost

There are good ways and bad ways of deploying social media into websites and we favour the idea of decoupling the performance of your website from the performance of the third party, non-essential content items; like social media.

If, for example, you have an ecommerce website, you probably don"t need your customer to FB “Like” your page in order to put something in their basket then checkout.” If this is the case, it would make sense to have the core search>view product>place in basket>checkout functionality fast and available even if the Third Party Content Provider"s servers or network are up the spout.

So, if you need social media on your site, go for it.” BUT – Make sure you add it in a way that is decoupled from the most important things which can happen on your site.