Facebook Instant Articles launched in 2015, but there is still an air of confusion surrounding them. The goal of Instant Articles is to give users a seamless experience that meets their expectations.
The problem is, users’ expectations continually increase.
According to a study by Kissmetrics, 47% of users believe web pages should load in two seconds or less. If the site takes longer than three seconds, 40% of people will give up and leave the page. As we continually expect faster load times, something needed to change.
When a publisher or brand posted a link on Facebook, the user would typically click on the link and be taken to the publisher’s website. Now, unless the publisher’s mobile site was fully optimized , this page would take up to eight seconds to load. That’s four times longer than users expect web pages to load.
In an effort to appease users, Facebook created Instant Articles. They keep users inside the Facebook app by hosting the post there, rather than directing users out to the publisher’s site.
How to Use Instant Articles
Instant Articles use a standardized markup language to create the rich storytelling capability they offer. This markup can be automatic or manual, depending on the goals of your organization. They are managed within your Facebook Page, so in order to implement, you must have an existing Facebook Page and an admin or editor role on that page. The article must be specially formatted in HTML, and Facebook has a good tutorial on their developers site.
Are Instant Articles Good for Ad Revenue?
Let’s cut to the chase. If Instant Articles keep readers within the Facebook app, are you still able to generate ad revenue? Well, yes and no. If you go through Facebook to implement ads into your Instant Article, Facebook will take 30% of your revenue. If you sell your own ads, you’ll get to keep 100% of the profit, but Facebook will limit how many of those ads you can include.
It’s important to note, though, that Instant Articles only work on the mobile app. Publishers must still have the article on their website for desktop viewers to see it. This is helpful for earning revenue from the ads on your site. Since desktop viewers will be directed back to your site, you will generate ad revenue as you typically would.
What if I Don’t Want to Use Instant Articles?
You don’t have to use Instant Articles. They can be a good option, especially if your pages typically take a long time to load, but they won’t necessarily work for everyone. That said, Instant Articles were first rolled out with only a handful of publishers, but now they are available to everyone. If you choose not to use Instant Articles, make sure your mobile site is optimized to the fullest to ensure a quick load time for your readers.
Whether you choose to implement them or not, sharing your expertise and knowledge with your audience, whether it’s on Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other platform, is critical for establishing your brand as a thought leader. As people begin to equate your brand and the helpful knowledge you provide, they will begin to go straight to your site for information, thus increasing traffic and ad revenue through the Moneytizer.