Facebook Instant Articles is a means whereby you can almost instantly read an article from the Facebook site without waiting for it to load.
A key missing feature for the publisher is having its own site navigation. On Facebook, this has been replaced with the option to read only three other articles by the same publication. In other words, to view more than three pages of your site you would have to use a web browser. This may be a smart move for Facebook but perhaps not so good for the publisher.
If you sign up for Instant Articles you are, in effect, giving away control of your website to Facebook and that is not a good thing to do. Also, you would not be able to build a customer database as that would in effect be held by Facebook.
The social media user experience changes
For the social media user the changes are amazing.The speed in which you can read articles and then get back to your feed then move on to further updates is almost instantaneous. Facebook understands its users and the fact that after eight seconds the user loses interest. Therefore, the speed in which the user can view an article is absolutely vital to maintain that interest.
Facebook knows that after eight seconds interest of the page is lost, so the speed in which the user can view their article is absolutely vital. This has been seen most recently in the way Facebook presents video content to its users. They don’t want you to leave their pages and that is why they have implemented Instant Articles.
What changes for publishers
There is a report from the Wall Street Journal that many of the major publishers get 60% of their referral traffic from Facebook. However, that number only refers to Facebook driving 60% of the clicks from links back to the publisher’s site. What that means is: a publisher that implements the Facebook Instant Article would lose direct control on a percentage of traffic – between 17% and 60% - and also lose their backlinks.
The Facebook Instant Articles are like this one:
To find out more about Instant Articles, click here
So, unless Google and all the other search engines make their crawlers recognise the actual owner of that content, publishing through Facebook Instant Article will dramatically affect the backlinks to your site.
NOTE: Social networks' backlinks aren't an SEO factor, there is actually no relation between organic ranking and these links, but there is a similarity between them. Nowadays, you can buy or set-up billions of fake Facebook links, shares, likes, etc but, unfortunately you won't see your ranking improve.
Something to remember: although you may get a huge percentage of traffic landing on your site, it will always be under the management of Facebook. It may mean an improvement in speed but it limits the user’s experience.
Three terms of contracts between Facebook and the publishers' partners
- 100% of the revenue acquired from Instant Articles goes directly to the publisher. However, if, at the end of the agreed period, the publisher has unsold stock, then Facebook will try to sell it for them via its own ad network. In this case, the publisher will only receive 70% of the revenue.
- The publisher is able to control the layout of the way in which Facebook presents their content.
- Facebook has stated that their algorithm will not be changed to favour Instant Articles over any other content on the site.
Let’s take these points one by one:
- Facebook becomes, in essence, an advertising partner for the publisher. It will allow then to advertise through its advertising network and that means the publisher’s banner will attract interest and will be included in Facebook’s extensive targeting data.
- Facebook makes it clear that publishers won’t lose any communication consistencies between channels.
- Facebook is saying that, even if you do not sign up for the Instant Articles, your page will not be affected in the ranking.
That’s great! However there is one concern that some people have:
One day, without any warning, Facebook will change its Terms and Conditions for one reason or another. And that this change will weaken the publishers' businesses they have built around Instant Articles or Facebook in general.
What changes for marketers
If your main objective is to achieve vast visits to your site and therefore increase your revenue, the aim would be to firstly attract a potential buyer and then eventually turn him into an actual one. So you can imagine how frustrating it would be not to have that control, not being able to pursue your potential clients along the decision making process.
This, coupled with the risk that one day Facebook will, without warning, change its Terms and Conditions, doesn’t make the Instant Articles such a wonderful tool for driving long-term, sustainable business growth.
This may all sound like a minefield to you. Which road should you travel down? Are you making the right decision for you company? That’s where we can help. To find out how, just click here for more information.
How to approach this new feature
The way to look at it is on the basis of a new marketing strategy. One you have never tried before.
The only way to be sure of success is to put it to the test.
Only a test made with your own content will tell you if this feature works for your business.
It can drive you crazy reading up on this method. There are so many pages on the web dedicated to it and the pros and cons of going down this route. Again, we canhelp with your marketing strategies and put you on the path to success.
We are only one click away – use it.