Have you ever moved away from a website because it took too much time to load? Ever chosen a faster website over a slower one? You’re definitely not alone. When it comes to the elements to a robust digital marketing campaign, we give higher priority to the design factor, ad targeting or conversion rate optimization. But there’s another angle that we should not forget and that is the website speed.
Website visitors these days don’t prefer waiting for a long time for the page to load. 46% people say that waiting for a website to load on their mobile phones is what they hate the most. Not to forget that 40% will desert your website for a faster one if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds.
This clearly means one thing – one has to find faster, more effective ways to deliver content. Facebook’s native publishing platform, Facebook Instant Articles aimed at solving this problem of slow page load time on the mobile web. Let’s find out about them in detail.
Facebook Instant Articles: What is it?
Back in 2014, marketers were clambering to get a hold of traffic which was diverting towards mobile at an insanely fast pace. To keep up with the trend, marketers concentrated on making their websites mobile-optimized only to find out two years later that the audience had shifted to a new phenomenon – mobile apps.
Amongst them, Facebook was the most popularly used mobile app. Facebook has since tried coming up with new products to keep its 2 billion user base hooked to the platform. Facebook Instant Articles is one of them.
Facebook Instant Articles allows news and content publishers to distribute articles in a fast and interactive manner for their followers on their Facebook page as the article opens within the Facebook app itself.
When you click on a link on your Facebook news feed, it takes you to the article on the website of the publisher. However, Facebook Instant Articles open directly within the Facebook app. Not only that, they load 10 times faster as against the 8 seconds that a normal article would typically take to load.
How do Facebook Instant Articles work?
An Instant Article is built on HTML and is optimized for fast and efficient performance on mobile. It boasts of lavish storytelling capabilities, rich design elements and an interactive visual display thus mirroring a user experience of a great mobile app.
A standardized markup language similar to XML is used to modify styles and the interactivity of the articles. You can automate the publishing of an entire content feed using the markup language. Or you can manually apply the capabilities of Instant Articles and customize them with rich media elements.
The ranking algorithm for Facebook Instant Articles is the same as that used in ranking standard content on the Facebook news feed. Your Facebook Instant Articles will have the same essence as your own website, however, it will not be linked to your website on its own. You will have to publish it separately as an Instant Article is only available on Facebook’s mobile app.
The fact that Facebook enables the hosting of Instant Articles on its own servers contributes to the fast load times of these articles. It is available for both Facebook app users on an iPhone and Android. If the user is using a platform where it is not supported, like the desktop version of Facebook, he/she will be taken to the web version of the article.
From the point of view of a user, Facebook app users can easily share Facebook Instant Articles. But how a person who clicks on the shared Instant Article views it will be different. The user experience will vary on a mobile device and a desktop.
What are the advantages of using Facebook Instant Articles?
A few statistics makes it clear that Facebook Instant Articles have worked well for publishers. Facebook Instant Articles have been found to have a 20% more probability of being clicked than typical mobile web articles and a 30% more likelihood of being shared. When opened, a user is 70% less likely to abandon an Instant Article before reading.
You get to monetize your content
In case you’re wondering, yes you can monetize your Instant Articles and drive revenue. Businesses can choose from the various flexible monetization options available. Here are some of the options available that Facebook supports.
As a publisher, you will get to keep 100% of the revenue as you sell your own ads under this category. You can integrate banner ads, video ads, and animated ads within your Instant Article.
Native ad formats are those that camouflage the form and function of the platform in which they appear. They can be placed within Instant Articles as direct sold campaigns delivered by a publisher’s ad server.
Branded Content/Paid partnerships
Instant articles created as part of brand deals or sponsorships can also be published as branded content.
3rd Party Video
Facebook allows third party embedded video players within Instant Articles provided they are click-to-play and contain editorial content.
What you publish is in your control
Signing up for Facebook Instant Articles feature does not make it necessary to share everything on Facebook. You will have total control over everything you share from your Library. Click on Publishing Tools from the top of your Facebook page to choose Instant Articles from the menu.
You can integrate Email Sign Up Forms
Email signup forms can be integrated within Instant Articles and this helps publishers to gather more data regarding their followers and readers.
It allows you to capture readership data
Facebook Instant Articles enables publishers to keep a tab on reader-engagement with content analytics tools of Facebook itself. Besides aggregate activity data, Facebook helps capture information on the reach & engagement of the article, time devoted to each article, scroll-depth and how the audience engaged with rich media elements like images and videos.
Having said that, there are certain disadvantages also when it comes to Facebook Instant Articles. People who are not in favour of it argue that Facebook does not provide any backlink to the publisher’s blog thus adding no value in terms of SEO, conversions or traffic. Also, if you are earning your revenue through Facebook’s audience network the social network keeps a 30% share with itself.
Niharika Datta is a Content Writer at Vidooly. She started her career as a Human Resource professional but is now pursuing her love for writing. Though she writes about a myriad of ideas, her personal favourite is writing about the latest trends in the content and digital marketing world. An ambivert by nature, she likes to grab a snack with a warm cup of coffee in the company of a good book or a close friend.