Facebook Releases Instant Articles For Publishers and A Can of Worms For Marketers

Woah, Facebook has another update! Brace yourself marketers, because this update is another big one.

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Image Source: HBO

Facebook has taken it into their own hands to solve the issue of loading time for articles on mobile. Chief Product Officer of Facebook, Chris Cox, explained in their promotional video how important load time for news and articles is on mobile. Following Chris, a photographer for National Geographic, summed up the issue with a sobering statement:

“If you’re trying to convince someone that bees are worth their time
you don’t want a loading bar to get in their way.”
– Anand Varma

With #mobilegeddon in full swing, this Facebook update couldn’t have come at a better time (or maybe just timed perfectly). You no longer have to wait excessively for articles to load from Facebook, pleasing the many who use Facebook as a newsource. Instant articles allow posts shared on Newsfeeds to load as much as 10 times fast than the standard mobile web. Talk about setting industry standards!

This is a huge game changer for publishers and opens up many doors, both good and bad. As Shezad Morani, Creative Director for NBCNews.com, described Instant Articles as living, breathing articles beyond just words. How so?

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Visually Appealing

Instant Articles are filled with impressive features us marketers are still drooling over. Facebook has changed the reading experience on mobile completely with the amount of user-friendly features Instant Articles have. Videos autoplay seamlessly as you scroll through an article, making the user feel apart of the piece. Authors can also include embedded audio captions to help clarify and point out certain aspects of an article.

On top of the interactive video feature, Instant Articles allow a user to zoom into high-resolution photos, scroll left or right and up and down to get a completely different feel for images. Publishers who felt limited by poor image quality on mobile no longer have to fear limitations. Photographer’s high-resolution images can now come to life with content on mobile.

Brands

Facebook designed Instant articles to demonstrate exactly what a brand wants to portray. Companies can customize typeface and colors to match that of their existing website and branding. If you have a specific font type that your customers know and trust you by you can carry that branding into your article. Instant Articles are available for any type of article, whether it by the latest news coverage or Mom’s apple pie recipe, companies and brands can feature better quality articles in the palms of their hands.

As with any new update or release on the internet, it’s currently only available to a select few. The Instant Articles partners as of now are limited to just the big boys: The New York Times, BuzzFeed, NBC News, National Geographic, BBC News, Bild, Spiegel Online, and The Guardian. Since Instant Articles have not been rolled out to every brand yet, you have to contact Facebook directly for more information and to be added to their publisher request list. They’ll be releasing new publishers throughout the year.

Advertising

If you are already running advertisements with Facebook, which you should be, you can carry over your ads from Newsfeed to an Instant Article. Instead of being disrupted by an irrelevant advertisement as a user is reading through your Instant Article, you can place an existing Facebook ad inside the Article. This helps keep consistency between branding, content, and advertising.

Good vs. Bad

The debate between whether this update is good or bad for marketers has caused a mass production of blog posts published since Tuesday. As someone who specializes and has a strong passion for social media and writing, this update excites me and gets my typing hands ready to one day be an Instant Article publisher. The SEOer, and rest of marketer, in me is hesitant to be too excited.

Industry leaders like Marketing Land bring up the valid point of Google replicating this with search results and what that could potentially do to our web, having such big players taking over the majority. Even more brands are arguing that this is just a ploy for Facebook to fully take over the internet. Silicon Angle makes the valid point that Facebook is becoming a one stop shop for all things, at least on mobile.

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Image Source: Silicon Angle

The George Orwell feel of Facebook already taking over our social lives, and now attempting to take over our news source, is an intimidating thought. Facebook has mobile, is about to attempt to take over news, and is a leader in advertising and marketing. When a company gets that big, and is represented in so many different areas of our lives, when does it stop? More importantly, does it ever stop?

What do you think about this update? Are you geeking out about this new user experience or freaking out like the rest of the marketers? Comment below with your thoughts on Instant Articles.

About Ashley Ward

Ashley is the CEO & Founder of Madhouse Matters, an online-marketing company specializing in helping businesses develop their brand and presence online. In her spare time you'll find her researching the next big update, indulging in several different IPAs, and planning her next adventure.

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4 Comments

Ashley Ward

Michelle,

I’d love to! #SocialChats are so much fun 🙂

Ashley Ward

Thank you for the kind words, Justin. We’re all crossing our fingers 😉

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