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Facebook has released many new features recently including video profiles, layout changes and shopping tabs, but none of them are as big as the new feature, Instant Articles, now open for all publishers.
The new mobile application has the ability to increase user engagement by enabling articles businesses publish on Facebook to become interactive. This is achieved through quick load times, high tech photo functionality and customisation of page elements to match branding.
Businesses will be able to sell ad space within their published articles and keep 100 per cent of the revenue. Alternatively they’ll be able to make use of the Audience Tool within Facebook and keep 70 per cent of the potential revenue.
Like with most things at some point you have to ask. Is this too good to be true? Well Facebook is a business so let’s see what they’re getting out of this insanely amazing development.
If Facebook Wins, Does That Mean Businesses Lose?
While the ability to offer greater interactivity through articles is likely to lead to higher engagement, business owners should ask themselves what the purpose of their article is. If it’s to lead users back to the website to capture potential leads, offer further information about products and services or cross sell, then maybe Instant Articles isn’t the answer.
The application is designed to keep users on the Facebook platform to minimise users disconnecting or bouncing off through external links. If Facebook can increase its overall user engagement, then it becomes a more desirable platform to advertise and inevitably more businesses will begin and rely on using it.
As mobile users are kept on the social platform, Instant Articles will unfortunately lead to less referral traffic. However you’re still able to record tracking through Google Analytics and other tracking software to ensure you’re keeping track of important metrics.
So What’s In It For You?
If Facebook fosters an environment where your business leverages the brand in a highly successful manner, then you’re about to offer the most amazing mobile user experience available.
Although articles will load ten time quicker than if they were published to an external website, functionality is not compromised with high resolution images becoming interactive through pan and tilt, zoom and auto play functionality.
Instant Articles offers a way to reduce the friction publishing on external sites brings, taking the mobile article reader to the next level.
The application has been built to integrate with your current content management system, with WordPress even releasing its own official plugin for publishing. This means businesses can press publish from one central location and not have to repost multiple times.
When Can Your Business Start Using It?
Now! Instant Articles will offer users a tailored mobile experience that is sure to lead to more clicks, longer session times and greater engagement. However, it does mean that the social network will retain ultimate publishing power and as we’ve previously seen Facebook do, future updates could bring changes that favour the platform and user, but not the businesses who brought the application to fruition through adoption and use.