Facebook had a small outage and the impact of the social media giant going down affects more than just your ability to watch cat videos.

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But the effect these outages had on a number of online retailers was profound, in some cases crippling a retailer’s home page response time. Dynatrace global website performance benchmarking data suggests that Australian retailers that incorporate social media into their home page saw loading times balloon out by upwards of twelve seconds.

Website Loadtime during Facebook Outage

Australian online retailers felt the full force of the outages, with average load times for Aussie retail sites lengthening from an already poor 7.31 seconds to an astonishing 19.34 seconds. Only Korean retailers were more drastically affected, with an average blowout from 4.10 seconds to 23.77 seconds. The globally accepted optimum load time for a website is under 3 seconds, after which many browsers would consider visiting a faster competitor.

“Facebook is a great platform to acquire new customers and to maintain brand loyalty,” Dynatrace Senior Marketing Director for APAC, Dave Anderson, told Power Retail. “But when Facebook sneezes, the internet catches a cold.”

When sites such as Facebook or Instagram go down, retailers that use features from these sites on their homepage (buttons, like boxes, sharing functionality or social login for example) are effectively left hanging by a website’s inability to connect with this third party.

“With any external application coded into a site, it can impact page load time and ultimately user satisfaction and transaction,” Anderson explained. “When an outage occurs, it’s important to have the monitoring and alerting in place to be able to react immediately, to minimise the impact on potential lost revenue.”

While many were caught out, a number of more prominent online retailers including eBay, Apple and Amazon were relatively unharmed, thanks to their pages using social media minimally and being sufficiently optimised for speed.

Anderson reiterated that even with Facebook back up and running now, Australian retailers were generally well behind the curve when it came to site optimisation.

“It’s not just about outages,” Anderson said. “Australia’s load time performance is on average 3 seconds behind the likes of the US and the UK, so it’s extremely important that retailers have a clear understanding as to which third parties are impacting website performance from an end user perspective.”