At the back end of last week I wrote a piece about the impending introduction of Facebook’s Instant Articles and why they could be good news for small and medium businesses and bloggers. Well true to their word Facebook announced the launch of Instant Articles at it’s recent F8 Conference. As expected there are no limitations to using the platform and it is open to any and all publishers with a Facebook Page.
So now that it is live, what can we expect from the latest and greatest from Mark Zukerberg and co?
Well according to Facebook their goal is to “connect people to the stories, posts, videos or photos that matter most to them.” While all this sounds fantastic we have to ask the question, what impact will it have on our publications and how much control will Facebook have? Firstly, Facebook have said:
“No matter which eligibility strategy you select, you will always retain control over the specific articles that will appear as Instant Articles. Facebook will NOT automatically ingest all articles with the designated domain or subdomain. Choosing a URL at this stage simply defines which articles will ultimately be eligible to become Instant Articles. At a later point, you can choose which to publish as Instant Articles.”
That is one fear put to bed I suppose, you the publisher will retain control over which articles become “Instant Articles”. This sounds fantastic, however in order to start publishing “Instant Articles” you have to submit 50 articles for review. While the criteria do not seem to be too strict, I have a feeling that this could be Facebook’s way of reneging on their promise of “Instant Articles” for everyone.
Of course that is just the cynic in me, I am sure we will get some idea of just how strict they are over the coming days and weeks. So what about the impact this will have on our reach? What can we expect?
Well as you can see from the graphic above, which can be found here, Facebook are telling us that “Instant Articles” get read 20% more, than mobile articles. People are 70% more likely to read the article as they do not have to wait for it too load and compared to mobile articles, those published on the platform have received 30% more shares.
Well if the number are correct that it looks good, so what about the advertising that we were so keen to hear about?
“As the exclusive network solution for Instant Articles, Facebook’s Audience Network offers publishers the opportunity to leverage the power of Facebook demand to monetize their content. Through high-value formats and people-based targeting, we help you deliver relevant, engaging ads and maximize ad revenue.”
It would seem that Facebook are holding true to their promise of allowing you to monitize your content and are even going to give you access to their 3 million strong network of advertisers. While there has been no mention as of yet of the 30/70 split, we can assume that this will be likely. If you want to read a little more about the Advertising Network you can check out the press release here.
There are a number of hoops we have to jump through before we can begin to publish direct to Facebook and you can sign up for “Instant Articles” here. There is some good news for those of you who do not facing having to a bit of coding, there are already a number of apps and WordPress plugins in development that should make this process a whole lot easier. One of such which has just launched is a WordPress Plugin.
I haven’t had the chance to have a good play around with it as of yet, but I will most certainly keep you posted about our progress. You can get the full Facebook Press Release Here, if you fancy some night time reading that is. But let us know your thoughts will you be venturing into the world of “Instant Articles” now that they are live?