A lot of major publishers have already started sharing content with Facebook instant articles, but the general public won’t have access to the feature until April 12.
The digital marketing world is already abuzz with talk of how Facebook instant articles will impact publishers. At this point, the talk is mostly speculation because the tool has not had widespread adoption. As usage grows, Facebook could also change or expand the features, which would changes the benefits and disadvantages.
For now, here are a few ways that we think this new Facebook feature could impact publishers:
Improve Brand Recognition
Facebook instant articles automatically load the content so that users see the full article right in their news feed, instead of having to click a link to access the article.
The articles retain the elements that you include, such as your logo or slogan in the header and special fonts or colors you use in the images. That means that you can control your brand identity through the selection of elements in your articles.
Even if users are not stopping to read your articles every time they see them, they will be seeing your name and those other elements of your branding as they scroll through. Simply having a presence through Facebook instant articles will help you improve your brand recognition among users.
Reach More Customers
The primary advantage of Facebook instant articles is their faster loading time.
Often, users become so frustrated with slow-loading pages or graphics that they just leave the site without reading the article.
Facebook instant articles will allow you to reach more customers by giving them that content faster and retaining their attention. If users like what they read, they could click through to your site and read more or they could start following you on Facebook or even share your article. All of these actions will help you to reach more customers and to get more exposure for your brand.
With more traffic and more social media followers, you can improve your revenue opportunities, as well. Publishing through Facebook instant articles can set off a chain of benefits that solidify your bottom line.
Get More Analytics Data
Facebook has done a great job of expanding its analytics so that marketers can glean more insights from their activity on the site.
With its instant articles, Facebook has introduced a few more analytics measures. Most notably, you can see the scroll depth for each article you publish, which shows you exactly how much of the article users actually read.
This is important information that will help you evaluate your content strategy. For example, if people are leaving your articles after only a paragraph or two, you can analyze those articles to understand why. It may be that the headline drew them in but the first couple of paragraphs appeared to talk about a different subject or did not live up to the promise in the headline. Or it may be that the lead of the article wasn’t compelling enough to keep readers interested.
Conversely, if people are reading through more of the article, you can look at that content to see what is working and then try to replicate it. Is it the topic? Or is it the writing style?
The better you can pinpoint the source of your successes and your failures, the better you can improve your content strategy.
Lose Monetization Options
A major drawback of Facebook instant articles is that you will have fewer monetization options.
You can include your own ads with your articles or use Facebook ads, but either way, you will have to follow strict rules for how many ads are in the article.
Ads have to be separated by at least 350 words of text. If, however, you publish an article that has more videos or other media than text, the rule is that ads cannot make up more than 15 percent of the content.
That could mean publishing a lot fewer ads than what you would like, and it could mean losing money. However, the true impact has yet to be seen. It could be that the improved load time and improved user experience with fewer ads will get you more readers and actually increase your revenue.
If you find that you are losing money through the instant articles, you will need to look at your overall advertising strategy to find ways to compensate. The other benefits of Facebook instant articles are too great to avoid using them because of this downside.
CodeFuel has an advertising platform that helps you to maximize your revenue by placing ads on just the right content and just the right channels. With our advertising solutions, you can quickly meet your revenue goals even while you are experimenting with new marketing options like Facebook instant articles or Google’s AMP.