23 Jul Facebook Instant Articles: How They Will Affect Marketers
What are Instant Articles?
Whether you’re a publisher or a marketer, Facebook’s Instant Articles are something you will be hearing more about in the upcoming months. These articles allow publishers to create interactive, fast-loading stories on Facebook. On May 13th, the first rounds of articles were posted by some of Facebook’s Launch Partners, including New York Times, National Geographic, and BuzzFeed. These publishers are taking part in an “alpha” test.
What This Means for Marketers
This service is not being openly offered yet and is not expected to be for a few months. As marketers patiently wait, they should consider the pros and cons of using Instant Articles.
- If ads are chosen and inserted by the publisher, they keep 100% of the profits and unsold ad space can be filled by Facebook for a 30% deduction.
- Multiple features are included in articles such as moving photos, auto-play videos, GIFs, voice recordings, interactive maps, in-line liking and commenting on different parts of the article.
- No loading wait time.
- The “share” button is consistently at the top of the article and Facebook will monitor interactions with it.
- Improved functionality and user experience.
- Publishers can keep their custom design elements; i.e. New York Times’ font and National Geographic’s yellow border.
- Articles do not link to parent site, meaning less outbound links and fewer opportunities to lead viewers to other content.
- Instant Articles are currently only for mobile users and the most current version of the Facebook App must be used. When an Instant Article is viewed by a desktop user, rather than a mobile device, some of the features and design elements are not transferred.
- Facebook Instant Article continuity may cause deterioration of a publisher’s brand essence. Although publishers are able to keep certain design elements, Facebook Instant Articles are all structured similarly, which can result in brand dilution and decreased relevance.
Every publisher has different goals and different information that they want to share. As these pros and cons are considered, it is important reevaluate what makes successful online content. If trading in website traffic for Facebook traffic sounds appealing, Instant Articles may be something for publishers to consider in the future. Will this take off? We’re patiently waiting to find out.