Digital Inbound Marketing Blog

What You Need to Know About Facebook's New Instant Articles Feature

Posted by David C Aaronson

Jul 15, 2015 4:45:11 AM

Have you heard about Facebook's Instant Articles feature? It represents a big opportunity for advertisers and those looking to establish or underscore a brand.

Facebook's Instant Articles is a Fast Publishing Platform



Something New to Like About Facebook

As anyone who pays attention to online marketing understands, a lot of people use their smartphones or iPhones to get on the web. Where do they go? Most often, to Facebook, where TechCruch reports, they conduct most of their mobile online activity.

It's hard not to. A Facebook app is bundled into just about every new phone out there, often preloaded as a standard feature. As more and more people use mobile devices to go online--and to Facebook in particular--it became obvious that Facebook needed to be sure its content reached phones quickly.

Enter Instant Articles, a service created to deliver content with fast-loading images and video to mobile phones. The service was created expressly to improve mobile readers' experience with news videos that load too slowly and risk losing readers.

Who puts up these links? Publishers who are targeting Facebook users, as well as users who share links.

Facebook and publishers both agreed the video problem had to be fixed and were worth losing some revenue up front. So while Facebook improved its mobile readers' experience--largely on its own dime--publishers agreed to pass up on paywalls in exchange for giving access via faster Facebook links.

There are two drawbacks that will almost surely be remedied over time:
  • Instant Articles isn't activated by sharing an article to Facebook. Give it time.
  • It is only available for iPhone users who have installed the iPhone Facebook app.

Instant Access Could Offer Instant Gratification for Marketing and Branding Staff

Facebook initially reached out to news publications for Instant Articles (hence the name) but opportunities abound for marketing and branding staff, who often borrow media techniques to showcase their products and services.



Will Instant Access Provide More Opportunities to Build a Brand?

Right now, Instant Articles is really just that: instant access to news articles. And Facebook is giving publishers who buy into this offering quite a deal. According to a FAQ, publishers can decide how much they want to offer on Facebook through Instant Articles, and control the publishing schedule as well.

And, Marketing Land reports, publishers can either control everything and keep 100% of resulting revenue, or have Facebook handle this in exchange for a 30% fee. How sweet would that be for marketers?

Instant Articles' Doesn't Require Learning New Technology

Perhaps the nicest feature is that no new technology is required on the part of publishers or, we hope, marketing staff. Instant Articles simply improves the mobile experience for photos and video as well as interactive tools like maps and surveys. If it's in HTML, it's allowed in the club.

This means brands don't have to adapt to anything; they can stay just the way they are, to steal a phrase from Billy Joel. They can incorporate what already works for them outside Facebook into the Instant Articles framework. All while they reach mobile users faster and potentially more often through America's favorite online hangout!



Topics: social media marketing