Facebook Instant Articles: What Marketers Need To Know

Face­book’s Instant Arti­cles offer some key poten­tial ben­e­fits to pub­lish­ers and brands.

Kelly Wrather By Kelly Wrather from Kenshoo. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Instant Arti­cles are still in their infan­cy, and full details of the impli­ca­tions and impact for all par­ties involved – par­tic­u­lar­ly adver­tis­ers – are still to be seen. As more pub­lish­ers roll­out con­tent via this for­mat, eyes will be on how con­sumers inter­act and brands respond to the pos­si­bil­i­ties.

Last month, Face­book rolled out Instant Arti­cles to a clam­or of opin­ions – rang­ing from a boon to mar­keters and pub­lish­ers to the poten­tial end of media as we know it.

As a reminder: Face­book Instant Arti­cles are fast-load­ing, rich-media sto­ries host­ed and accessed direct­ly from the Face­book Mobile News­feed.

Instant Arti­cle launched with 9 pub­lish­er part­ners, and sev­er­al weeks lat­er, the main thought on the minds of most was: so where exact­ly are these arti­cles?

Face­book indi­cat­ed the roll­out of Instant Arti­cles would be a grad­ual process, and now, near­ly a month after the announce­ment, The New York Times said it would have a “full feed of about 30 Times sto­ries a day” live lat­er in June.

This comes hot off the heels of Apple’s launch of its own mobile news­read­er, News, at its World­wide Devel­op­er Con­fer­ence – with an impres­sive ros­ter of pub­lish­ers, includ­ing the New York Times and oth­ers.

In the case of both Apple News and Face­book Instant Arti­cles, pub­lish­ers will be able to retain 100 per­cent of the ad rev­enue they fill them­selves and 70 per­cent of rev­enue for inven­to­ry the plat­form sells. This mon­e­ti­za­tion is like­ly a major sell­ing point for pub­lish­ers.

For mar­keters look­ing at this ad oppor­tu­ni­ty, Instant Arti­cles offer some key poten­tial ben­e­fits:

  • Trust­ed and Native Ad Envi­ron­ment: Ads with­in Instant Arti­cles offer an inte­grat­ed and engag­ing way to reach con­sumers across of a set of pre­mi­um pub­lish­ers.
  • Con­nec­tion to Mobile Con­sumers: The high­ly respon­sive, mobile design of Instant Arti­cles caters to today’s mobile-first audi­ence with con­tent that is said to load 10x faster than stan­dard linked arti­cles.
  • New, com­ple­men­tary reach: For pub­lish­ers who decide to fill their ad inven­to­ry via the Face­book Audi­ence Net­work, this could mean a seam­less entry point for brands already engaged in this chan­nel to test a new for­mat and gar­ner new reach.

Ear­ly num­bers reveal Instant Arti­cles are grab­bing high­er engage­ment rates – an aver­age of 4.3x more than link posts. If this is an indi­ca­tion of audi­ence engage­ment once in the arti­cle, it could bode well for adver­tis­ers. But don’t let the num­ber deceive you, this was a small sam­ple of ini­tial posts.

There are a few things brands that are inter­est­ed in explor­ing this oppor­tu­ni­ty should keep in mind. For exam­ple, some ini­tial Instant Arti­cle ad guide­lines have already been announced such as:

  • There will be a max­i­mum of four ads per arti­cle.
  • No ads will be placed “above the fold.”

Giv­en the selec­tive group of roll­out part­ners, it doesn’t appear that Instant Arti­cle ads slots will pro­vide scale ini­tial­ly, but as this ini­tia­tive ramps and more part­ners come on board, there could increased spots with increased com­pe­ti­tion. Anoth­er real­is­tic bet could have brands work­ing with pub­lish­ers to fea­ture spon­sored con­tent sto­ries with­in Instant Arti­cles for a true native adver­tis­ing expe­ri­ence.

The final point of con­sid­er­a­tion is the vis­i­bil­i­ty of Instant Arti­cles with­in the News­feed. A brand’s con­tent can be at the mer­cy of EdgeR­ank as Face­book has tak­en mea­sures to adjust it algo­rithm based on its users activ­i­ties and pref­er­ences.

Face­book has said Instant Arti­cles won’t be favored by the algo­rithm, but will that change if users grav­i­tate toward them? The lat­est EdgeR­ank update is tak­ing into account time spent on sto­ries, so if audi­ences are high­ly engaged with this for­mat, will that boost their occur­rences and vis­i­bil­i­ty with­in the News­feed?

Are you plan­ning to explore Face­book Instant Arti­cles?

Kelly Wrather

Written by Kelly Wrather

Sr. Manager, Content Marketing, Kenshoo

Kelly Wrather is the Senior Manager of Content Marketing at Kenshoo, the global leader in predictive marketing software. Prior to joining Kenshoo, she helped launch the Accuen brand, the trading desk of Omnicom Media Group. A graduate of Boston University's College of Communication, Wrather's previous experience also spans social media and online community management.

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