Facebook Instant Articles (IA) is a mobile publishing format that enables news publishers to distribute articles to Facebook’s app that load and display up to 10 times faster than the standard mobile web. So, what’s all the hype about? Well, when you hear what some of the publishing world’s biggest executives have to say, you too will fall for the hype.
But you have to actually see it to believe it. Many big publishers have had the privilege to offer the IA experience, and the results are pretty good.
The Pros for Online Publishers
- Greater reach & engagement: IA’s receive 20% more clicks than mobile web articles, 30% more shares, and users are 70% less likely to abandon the article.
- Increased readership: 10x faster loading time since it uses the same technology Facebook uses for photos and videos.
- Increased ad revenue: 100% ad revenue if publisher sells own ads; 70% if sold by Facebook
- Greater control over user experience: you can customize the look and feel and maintain the publisher’s brand recognition.
- Enhanced visibility & ranking: Facebook gives IA algorithm priority meaning your articles are more likely to show on users’ Facebook News Feeds.
- Integrated Call to Action (CTA): IA articles receive more page likes and email sign-ups due to the integrated CTA buttons.
But, like everything good, there are a few downsides too.
The Cons for Online Publishers
- Decreased customer satisfaction: ad and pop-up overload will force readers to abandon articles.
- Decreased SEO: trading web traffic for Facebook traffic will result in less visibility for publishers wanting to be found. Afterall, a user or potential buyer searching for an actual online business will Google it first, not search for it on Facebook.
- Loss in loyalty: by targeting audiences on Facebook, you are losing traffic to your own website.
So, is IA good for you? It seems Facebook is trying to revolutionize storytelling once again if it maintains news integrity by branding part of its content as news aggregation, and not simply a money-grubbing collector of cheesy articles. With a few kinks and trade-offs, Instant Articles could help online publishers tell their story through FB and really fast.
Even without Facebook, fast page load times are essential, hence the use of Google AMP. If you are aiming to provide a more streamlined, faster storytelling experience for your readers, then you probably should make sure all your content is optimized. In the end, what guarantees readership and loyalty is quality content no matter what platform you are using.