How Social Media Makes Websites Anti-Social | Features vs Performance

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For most online businesses, integrating social media into their website has enabled them to interact with their customers directly. Social media widgets offer customers the ability to have real-time engagement with the business, its products, and like-minded consumers.

Today’s DevOps are increasingly saddled with third party social media widgets (or applications). By relying on external content, developers become dependent on the quality of that third-party content delivery, which, in turn, impacts the performance of their website. Due to lack of third-party element control, developers find difficulty monitoring vital statistics related to network health.

Developers can use externally-based web performance tools to determine if their social media app integration is worth the wait: Run an Instant Browser-Based Website Performance Test Here

Social Media MonitoringThe Effects of Slow Page Load

A study conducted at Stanford University concluded every 100-millisecond increase in page load time for a popular e-commerce site decreased sales by 1-percent (Kohavi and Longbotham 2007). In another study, Google revealed a 500-millisecond increase in search results display time reduced revenue by 20 percent.

Is Social Media Integration Worth It?

By applying the conclusions of these studies to social media application integration, developers are left with two apparent choices:

  1. Integrate social media widgets (possibly slowing down the website and giving up control of certain parts of the network infrastructure)
  2. Ignore the current social media tidal wave and deny third party integration (losing the opportunity to engage with customers and grow the business)

There is, however, a simple third option…

Trust Social Media, but Verify

Developers can pursue the benefits of integrating social media into their website while monitoring those widgets for performance from an end-user perspective. Network monitoring services, like Dotcom-Monitor’s BrowserView Website Monitoring, help track social media app and website performance.

Below are three tips for verifying third-party social media web application performance:

  1. Determine the website’s level of social media third-party integration: Integrating third-party social media applications into the content mix involves giving up control of certain parts of the network infrastructure. Developers should determine the optimum levels of third-party integration in the tradeoff of site features vs site performance. One way to do this is to conduct a survey of the existing infrastructure and evaluate redundant elements. An externally based website monitoring solution will test, alert, and report on network performance – monitoring both internal elements and external third party integrations.
  2. Place third-party content strategically: At the end of the day, social media is about engagement. Social media buttons, or widgets, act as triggers for customers to share interesting brands or content. Social media should compliment website content, not overtake it. Social media rich content should not bog down every page of a website, rather, social media widgets and sharing buttons should be intentionally placed next to content or information that triggers the sharing instinct or offer value to customers.
  3. Measure Response Time: Savvy website administrators keep an eye on their social media widgets and their impact on website speed. Most social media apps use a combination of JavaScript and service calls which requires memory and additional download time. As the previously mentioned studies indicate, milliseconds impact bottom line. It is important to measure website response times with a web monitoring service that analyzes the impact of individual elements on overall website performance.

Social Media App Monitoring

Social media apps are continuing to grow in importance for online businesses and their customers. Externally-based website monitoring allows website administrators and developers to verify that these social media apps aren’t slowing the business website down. This information allows website administrators to maintain control over what is happening on the website, so informed decisions in regards to feature integration vs website performance may be made.

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