Facebook Instant Articles – Should you be using them?

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By now you may have heard of Facebook Instant Articles. As a Facebook user, you might have already read articles that use this feature.

Facebook?defines Instant Articles as:

An Instant Article is a HTML5 document optimized for fast mobile performance, rich storytelling capabilities, branded design and customized visual display.

In a nutshell, Facebook Instant Articles is a method of publishing your content directly on Facebook. This eliminates the time lag between clicking on a link and being redirected to the site that the content is published on. When you click on content that has been optimised for Instant Articles, the load time is immediate.

This video from Facebook gives you an overview of the look and feel.

This currently only works for mobile users however. When a desktop user clicks on a link to your content, they will be taken to your website as usual.

The upside is that the user experience is greatly improved. However the downside, and yes there always seems to be a downside, is that users viewing your content from a mobile device won’t be counted as referral traffic from Facebook. It is possible of course to use Google Analytics to record traffic to your Facebook Instant Articles to ensure your visitor count is not affected.

So what are the advantages and disadvantages of using Facebook Instant Articles?

Some Advantages

  • As the name suggests, the articles appear instantly in your news feed. Impatient users, like myself, no longer have to wait for a page to load. They simply have to just keep on scrolling to read the article that magically appears immediately. Many people don’t bother to wait to read an article if it takes too long to load. So it is important to produce compelling content, with a certain amount of eye-catching text and links.
  • Instant Articles should go some way to increasing brand awareness as you can include your logo and colouring etc. within the article. In theory, engagement should increase resulting in more likes and shares, further increasing brand awareness and driving more traffic directly to your website.

Some Disadvantages

  • Some images are allowed within your Instant Articles but elements such as video are not allowed. So you will have to make your content even more compelling
  • It makes it more difficult to capture leads. If you have a pop-up plugin on your site for example to capture e-mail addresses, you won’t be able to do this with Instant Articles. You will be relying on increased engagement and brand awareness to drive traffic to your website where you can then capture leads.
  • If you are a content based site that relies on an Advertising model for revenue then unless Instant Articles results in more traffic to your website, you might find that the limitation Facebook imposes on how many ads you can show results in a dip in advertising revenue.

Deciding whether or not to implement Facebook Instant Articles really depends on what your marketing goals are. My own opinion is that it is certainly worth a try but deep and regular analytics and measurement will be required to see how it is performing for you.

If you want us to give you some help and advice, or to implement this for you, give us a call on 01 9059303 drop us a line at info@diginormous.com or fill out the form below. We are also available to help more generally with your Social Media Marketing, and we have favourable plans to suit all budgets.

Deirdre Zaidan

Deirdre is Marketing Director with Diginormous, an Irish Digital Marketing company based in Donabate, North Co. Dublin. Her background is in Sales & Marketing and she specialises in digital marketing - helping clients achieve their own digital marketing goals.