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Facebook Instant Articles. Yes or No?
If you haven't heard, Facebook in all its content distribution wisdom and self-interest has placed a fork in the road for publishers and content generators. The Facebook instant article is here and publishers are asking themselves To use instant articles or not use instant articles, that is the
What are facebook instant articles?Facebook instant articles draw from feeds you set up from your website and display lightweight HTML5 documents that are hosted within Facebook and load up to 10 times faster on mobile devices. While this is great news for the end user reading the article there is a serious trade-off that publishers need to navigate before deciding for or against going instant.
The Facebook instant articled dilemmaPros
- Faster load times
Instant articles display natively in-app and load up to 10x faster
- You can monetize with the platform
Facebook allows publishers to sell and serve their own display and rich media ads in instant articles while keeping 100% of the revenue. Another option is to display ads from the Facebook Audience Network, to help monetize any unsold inventory. With this option, the publisher keeps 70% of the revenues and gives Facebook a 30% taste.
- Engagement rates
Facebook reports that Instant Articles have 70% lower bounce rates and 30% higher share rates than standard mobile web articles.
- EdgeRank boost
Facebook wants publishers to migrate to the platform so naturally network will give Instant Articles the royal treatment in the EdgeRank algorithm
- A Proven content discovery network
Facebook user numbers have no rival and their data shows the Instant Articles format translates to 20% higher click-through rates on links inside content than other mobile publishing formats.
- Control over branding
Publishers control the content experience, branding options, can adjust colours, fonts, include logos and other embedded media.
- Integrations with measurement tools
Measure page views through a variety of analytics tools, including comScore, Chartbeat, Google Analytics, Omniture, and Adobe Analytics.
- Immersive full-screen experience
The full-screen content experience of Instant Articles, publishers have more control over what mobile users see and
- Platform dependency
The more engagement, shares, likes, views you may get from Instant Articles will encourage publishers to push more of their content into Facebook and could eventually be so dependent they open up themselves to suffer greatly from rule and algorithm changes in future.
- Mobile only
As a content producer if having users engage more with your content on their mobile devices isn't a big issue for you, then the tedious set up of Instant Articles feed is not worth it
- Drop in referral traffic
Since users can quickly acquire the information natively in-app they may have no reason to visit your website and content that was produced to pull users to your site, is hardly as effective as it once was
- Drop in the exit rate
Encouraging users to remain in Facebook only aids the platform, the longer they're on Facebook, the more ads can be served to them, the better revenue for Facebook
- Separate tracking
Since the pages are hosted on Facebook, you will need to set up additional tracking and measurement tools to see its performance
- Ranking Factors
Can Google take into consideration your content that's housed in Facebook? Will the engagement rates such as likes, shares and a drop in referral traffic affect your search rankings? Time will tell.
- Setup requires some technical expertise
Facebook and Automatic have worked together to create a plugin to make set up a bit easier but if you're running another CMS you may run into technical issues with setup.So there you have it the pros and cons of going instant. Now that you're aware of the potential pitfalls and the benefits Facebook is selling us, will you be converting? Let us know