Facebook Instant Articles: What Marketers Need to Know

Facebook Instant Articles: What Marketers Need to Know

Facebook Instant Articles: What Marketers Need to Know 842 570 Kraus Marketing

Facebook moves to publish articles directly on its platform.

Back in May, Facebook announced the official launch of a new service called Instant Articles, which allows publishers to create compelling content that stays native to the social platform. The aim of this new service is to reduce the long loading time when you wait to open articles on a web browser, which will improve functionality and user experience. While this service is excellent for readers, some concerns among publishers and marketers have risen.

What are Facebook Instant Articles?

As the name suggests, Instant Articles are quick loading, interactive articles that allow readers to digest information faster than before. These articles can be blog posts, press releases or any other content that the social media platform hosts directly on Facebook rather than a publisher’s website.

This service, which is restricted to the iPhone app for now, was created with mobile readers in mind. The loading time of the article is much faster, which Facebook says is essential to user experience because the longer people wait for an article to load, the more likely they are to lose interest and move onto something new. With Instant Articles, however, you can quickly read an article, return to your News Feed and then move onto the next article.

While Facebook has stressed the quicker loading time, Instant Article offers many other interactive features such as auto-play videos playing while you scroll through stories, interactive maps, audio captions, a zoom-in feature for photos by tilting your phone and inline liking and commenting on different parts of the article.

At the moment, only a few publishers are partnered with this service, but many more are seeking the use of this new feature. Among the partnered publishers are National Geographic, BBC News, Buzzed, The Guardian and The New York Times. Furthermore, Facebook has announced that while only a few articles have been published, you can expect many more to come later in the summer.

Loss of power and control?

When you publish an article on your website, its on your terms. When you make a deal with Facebook, you need to play by their rules; this also applies to Instant Articles.

Currently Instant Articles are free, and Facebook has said that they won’t prioritize Instant Article in the News Feed. But what is stopping them from changing their rules such as charging for the use of their service or start prioritizing and censoring certain types of content? Or even worse, what is stopping the social network from pushing publishers who generate more revenue higher up in the News Feed?

If businesses are dependent on Facebook in regard to their marketing efforts, this could present a problem they will soon be at the social giant’s mercy because you are giving up your power.

What does this mean for my business?

Despite concerns, this new feature can benefit businesses. If you ask any marketer, they will tell you that content is key. What happens if you have great content, but nobody is reading it because it is not reaching a diverse audience? Facebook has over a billion users and Instant Articles allows greater content distribution. Normally, marketers may be utilizing various social media platforms, paid search marketing, SEO, and emailing marketing to spread their message; meanwhile, utilizing Instant Articles could potentially reach more people with less effort.

In fact, these extra features might even make your articles more engaging, which could allow your company to stand out and lead to a possible conversion. Also, Facebook has promised to share analytics with its new partners. Furthermore, Ads can also appear inside Instant Articles, with publishers keeping 100% of the revenue if they sell them and Facebook keeping 30% if they choose to sell the ads.

While this service does have its benefits, marketers need to be aware that they are possibly sacrificing inbound links and risk losing organic SEO. Instant Articles allows you to read entire articles without having to leave Facebook meaning that you won’t be visiting publishers website. Instead of being rewarded for having great content by having readers explore and consume additional content and pages on your website, the reader is most likely going to go back into Facebook and read a different article from a different site.

Inbound links are a huge factor for conversion because they let businesses know who is coming to their website and where they are coming from. When you publish an article on your website, any inbound links from other sites that mention your article are directed to your website, which will boost both your website’s authority and ranking on Google. In short, when you use Instant Articles you may be trading in your search traffic for more traffic on Facebook.

Is this tradeoff worth it? Only time will tell.

At Kraus Marketing, we are vigilant about remaining knowledgeable about new and emerging trends on social media. When more information is released about Facebook Instant Articles, we will relay further information at that time. To learn more about Kraus Marketing and the services we offer, contact us at (973) 998-5742 or visit us online at www.KrausMarketing.com.

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