Optimising Facebook fan page performance

I’ve been doing a bit of work lately trying to improve the production value of the Facebook pages that I manage as well as putting my clients on the right track with their Facebook landing tabs.

The first thing you see when you land on someone’s Facebook page is their landing page.

You know the ones.

They show you a glimpse of what the company/business offer and ask you to Like their page…. often with the promise of wealth/fat loss or, like mine, free information.


Too often though I find myself waiting more then a couple of seconds for someones Facebook landing page to load.

I treat this in the same way that I treat a regular website that is taking too long to load…. I click away to another page.

Just because the Facebook page landing tab is seen on the Facebook site, it is still apart of your brand and you should be doing as much as you can to ensure that the content is loading as quickly as the content on your own site.[/two_third]

[one_third_last][box type=”shadow”]If you’re not already concerned about your sites speed you should read about how it affects Google SEO rankings, how even a fraction of a second can cause a loss in customers and sales, and then get a hold of Page Speed and YSlow and drive those times down. If you’re too lazy, get in touch with me.[/box]

Putting this extra effort into improving the load times will avoid users, just like you and me, clicking away. By avoiding this you increase you brand awareness and PROFIT$.

Creating a Facebook Page Welcome tab

There are lots of different ways that you can do this. The most popular way that I have found people using is using an exisiting Facebook App to help you create and host the pages for you.

Alternatively if you’re feeling adventurous, you could code and create your own Facebook tab which will give you a lot more control over things like performance, but if you want the more fancy features it will begin to mean you need more programming skills.

Some easy products that do it for you include….

If you’re interested in doing it yourself I’ll be writing an article on how you can do just that for yourself shorlty.

Performance – Battle of the load times

I decided to take a look at the performance of 9 different types of pages for the test.

  • 5 were created and controlled by me.
  • 2 were pulled from Lujure (Amy Porterfield & Lujure itself)
  • 2 were well known brands from the top 10 brands on Facebook for 2011 (Oreo & Cocacola)

Control Batch

I looked at a few possibilities for the pages that were within my control, although you could expand these further.

  • Facebook Like Page (checks to see if the user has liked the page) containing a Single Image hosted on my server
  • Standard HTML page containing an image, both hosted on my server
  • Standard HTML page with inline CSS, hosted on my server
  • Standard HTML page hosted on Amazon S3 CDN Server
  • Standard HTML page, like #2, but the image was hosted on Facebook

The final results

In order of first to load….

  1. 2.8s Amazon Hosted Page (sadly disqualified for returning an error)
  2. 3.1s HTML & inline CSS
  3. 3.5s HTML & Facebook image
  4. 3.9s Fan switcher page (a result anomoly I think)
  5. 4.5s HTML & image
  6. 4.7s Amy Porterfield (hosted by Lujure)
  7. 5.1s Coca-cola (hosts unknown)
  8. 6.5s Lujure (hosted by Lujure)
  9. 6.5s Oreos (hosts unknow)

What did we learn from this?

The most basic thing I learned is something that I’ve already included in the beginning of the post. Your Facebook page tab should be created with the same performance rules you would use for the rest of your website.

Some of the cooler things that I learned, and you should keep in mind are….

  • While Amazon S3 was the best performance OUTSIDE of the Facebook page it returns an error when you use it in Facebook. The error is “Method Not Allowed” “The specified method is not allowed against this resource”. The reason you get this back is because Facebook is pulling the content through an iFrame and for some reason uses a POST to retrieve the content. Unfortunately Amazon only accepts GET requests at the moment… even with the Bucket rules added that Facebook supply to you.
  • If you are going to use images on your Facebook page landing tab then you should first upload them your page Wall or in a photo album and set them to public read. Then you simply use that URL to pull the image into your page (and you take advantage of Facebooks awesome CDN).
  • KISS – The old saying. Keep it as one document (no javascript or css files) and write all your CSS inline. If you must use pictures (and I think you definitely should) then host them with Facebook.

I’ve nested a video below for you to see how the load times went. There are a few caveats with these tests (grain of salt time).

  1. You can see that the Facebook wrapper loads at different times, so the final time should take that into account
  2. This was run a few times, each with very similar results, on a server located in the US via http://www.webpagetest.org. I couldn’t use the Video snapshots with any other server.
  3. Oreo, Lujure and Coca-cola each showed progressive loading around the same time as the others were showing full content. This might be enough to keep you user put and not clicking away.

To wrap up….. this is just a test. Please check out the pages yourself and post back your experience with each of them. If anyone can do their own round of testing with the same pages please let me know the results.

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