Posting links to articles on Facebook has long since been the thing to do when looking to capture the attention of perspective leads and clients. With over 1 Billion people a day actively using the platform, it is easy to see why almost everything can be found on “The BookFace” as my mother calls it. While posting the link to an article can certainly increase your click back traffic, there is one issue, load time. Facebook have realised this and are about to launch Facebook “Instant Articles”.
For some time now Facebook has been looking to solve the issue surrounding article load times and their answer to the problem looks set to go live on April 12th 2016. Facebook “Instant Articles” aims to have the content you upload to the platform load instantly and if the tests are anything to go by it seems to be working a charm.
Back in May 2015 Facebook gave nine select publications the chance to start using “Instant Article”, these included The New York Times, The Atlantic, Buzz Feed and National Geographic to name but a few. If you take a look at the graphic on the right you can see the impact posting to “Instant Articles” had to The New York Times. Luckily for us it looks like Facebook are about to open it up to everyone after their F8 Conference on the 12th of April.
Why should you care about Facebook Instant Articles?
For starters we have learned over time that early adopters of new advances in tech and platforms generally see the best results, but with the world and their mother already using it, that effect may be negated. Be that as it may, having the ability to load your content directly into Facebook using “Instant Articles” will ensure that load time is no longer an issue for you subscribers.
With load times all but gone the chance of your audience sharing your content is far greater. This coupled with the almost interactive imagery features that we have seen in demo’s, it looks like your visual content will get a boost too.
However, the biggest thing that I can see going forward is the ability to monetise. One of the major factors for online business owners is the time available to them to try and monetise their websites. A quick search of Google will show you any number of articles demonstrating just “How to monetise your website”, but lets be honest, some of those theory’s on how it is done just will not work for everyone.
Enter Facebook, as it stands at the time of publishing Facebook will allow you to sell ad space in your “instant Article” and keep 100% of the profit, despite the fact that the article is hosted on their site. Now as I said, this is at the time of publishing, this very well may change in the future. This is not actually the piece that interests me.
If the reports coming from sources within Facebook are to be believed, it is expected that Ad space within your article sold by Facebook themselves will see a 30/70 split, with the authors getting the lions share. Now I have seen some major publications poo poo this, but my thoughts have turned to the smaller publications.
When asked if “Instant Articles” and presumably the Ad split would apply “one-person operations — that is, someone typing their own stuff on a Tumblr page or Medium page or whatever — they said yes” (source- Recode). If this is true then it could prove very valuable to those people with good traffic numbers or large followings on Facebook who just don’t have the time or the know how when it comes to selling ad space.
Basically this means you can let Facebook become your own sales rep. With the platform set to gain 30% of any ad revenue it sells, there is an incentive for them to monetise the content you upload to “Instant Articles”. While all you have to do is keep creating compelling content that will drive article views and engagement. I don’t know about you but I can see quite a lot of smaller enterprises making good money from this without having to do a whole lot extra.
The Bad News About Instant Articles
The one major draw back is that the content is load directly onto Facebook, so it could potentially have an impact on traffic numbers and click backs to your site. With less traffic, this does throw up questions about sales funnels and lead capture, but I guess we will just have to wait and see.
Instant Articles are created with HTML5, while CSS will not work. This could potentially throw up a few issues. Focusing on solopreneur’s and small businesses, the formatting could become an issue. While HTML5 is not all that difficult, I do worry that the “requirements” to publish an “Instant Article” could cause many publishers headaches.
As you can see by the image below, Facebook love their rules!
The final “worry” that I can see from this ahead of it’s launch is the effect posting direct to Facebook could have on S.E.O. At the end of the day, we as publishers want people to not only consume our content, but we want them on our websites. With that in mind I do have some concerns about the effect “Instant Articles” may have on S.E.O. Even if the article goes up on Facebook and our own site, who will Google rank higher?
That aside, I have to say I think Facebook “Instant Articles” could be a huge new way for content creators to monetise their content without really having to do any more than they are already doing. I mean if Facebook want to sell ad space on some of our more popular pieces of content and give you 70%, when the truth is we didn’t really have time to go out and personally sell ads, then happy days!
Of course we will have to wait and see how this pans out, but I for one am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting stuck in. If you want to get more news about Facebook Instant Articles, which I assume will contain relevant information about publishing once it goes live, you can leave you details with Facebook and they will mail you.
We will be using Instant Articles once they go live, to check them out make sure you connect with us on Facebook.