Pros And Cons Of Facebook Instant Articles For Publishers

by Roee Ganot March 28, 2016
March 28, 2016

Many exciting changes have been taking place that promise to help digital marketers get more reach and connect with more of their target audience.

Google introduced its AMP platform for mobile content in October, and Facebook has been quietly offering instant articles to certain publishers for some time. Now, Facebook is getting ready to open up instant articles to all publishers, starting on April 12.

Before you dive right in, you’ll probably want to know what’s in it for you. Here’s what you need to know about Facebook instant articles for publishers – pros and cons:

The Pros

Facebook instant articles take their name from their functionality: They appear instantly in the news feed.

Instead of seeing a headline, photo and sentence or two from the article, users see the entire article right there in the feed. They have instant access to the content without having to click through to your site, which means that they are much more likely to at least scan the article, if not read it.

Even if users are only scanning your article, you have a greater opportunity to draw them in. You must write compelling content and use eye-catching page elements, such as bold words, bullet points, and appropriate links.

Scrolling the newsfeed is often a passive activity for most users, so there is a higher likelihood that they will actually read through your article since they don’t have to do anything else to read it besides keep scrolling. The faster loading time also helps them to stay around — most would abandon your site if the content took too long to load.

If users like what they read, they are likely to click through to your site to discover more of your content, to click on more of your ads, and to become customers.

Instant articles allow you to create more brand recognition, as well, since the articles can include elements like your logo, tag line, and brand colors. Even if users aren’t reading your articles, they will see those elements and become more acquainted with your brand. The more exposure you have, the easier it will be to reach customers later.

Finally, Facebook instant articles can help you get more engagement on the site. Readers are much more likely to share or “like” your article, which can further increase your brand exposure and help you get more traffic to your site.

The Cons

No marketing tactic is perfect, and there are a few drawbacks to Facebook instant articles.

Facebook allows you to include some photos and graphics, but the interactive page content is limited. You won’t be able to include slideshows, videos, and other immersive elements. That means you’ll have to make your text and photos really count.

Facebook also limits the advertising options on its instant articles. You’ll have the option to use your own ads or to use its ads, but you’ll be limited in how many ads you can show. That may cause a drop in your advertising revenue, and you may need to reconsider your advertising strategy.

Ultimately, the limits are designed to improve the user experience, and that may encourage more users to read through your entire article and even to click through to your other content. That can lead to more impressions and clicks, which can improve your advertising revenue.

You will have to analyze the data and find the right balance to meet your revenue goals.

The Bottom Line

Whether or not you should publish on Facebook instant articles will depend a great deal on your marketing goals.

However, it’s hard to imagine that there is any brand that can’t benefit from this publishing opportunity in some way.

The formatting limitations will make you think harder about your content creation, which will only improve the content you create. You’ll be forced to make every word count, which will result in content that has a greater impact for readers.

The limitations on advertising will force you to choose better ads and employ better ad targeting, both on Facebook and off. CodeFuel can help you with that.

Our advertising platform uses extensive analytic data to identify the best advertising placement, both in your content and across your different channels. Our platform is also intuitive, and it predicts customer behavior to determine the right ads to show them at the right time.

With our advertising platform, you’ll get better results from your advertising, which will help you attract more advertisers and increase your overall advertising revenue. That will help you protect your bottom line and fuel your overall marketing efforts.

You still have time before Facebook instant articles are available for everyone. Use that time to start putting together a strong strategy that will help you get the results you want for your site and your advertising revenue.

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