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Social@Ogilvy Briefing: Facebook Instant Articles

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Social@Ogilvy Briefing: Facebook Instant Articles

  1. 1. Facebook | Instant Articles May 15, 2015
  2. 2. 2 What is it? Facebook is now offering publishers the opportunity to host their content directly on the platform. This new type of content is called Instant Articles. Stories from partner publishers will now appear entirely within the Facebook (mobile) app, meaning you’ll never have to leave the app. Ever. Facebook Instant Articles
  3. 3. 3 Offering a Better Reading Experience • Richer: Instant Articles will introduce interactive features like embedded tweets, auto-play videos that come to life when scrolling, interactive maps and graphics, audio captions and possibilities to comment on individual parts of the articles. • Faster: Beforehand publishers have had to link to their articles, which have taken up to eight seconds to load. With Instant Articles the reading experience will be up to ten times faster, according to Facebook. Facebook Instant Articles
  4. 4. 4 Features The most significant feature of Instant Articles is the speed in which users can view the full article. Additionally, articles served through the new tool can include: • Cinemagraph cover photos • Autoplay video that lay and play seamlessly within the article • Rich, high-definition photos that users can zoom in on • Interactive maps • Audio captions that allow you to hear the voice of authors or key influencers • The ability to share or comment on specific points within the article Facebook Instant Articles
  5. 5. 5 Where There’s Facebook, There’s Controversy Despite rumors of the new offering circulating for some time, the launch of Instant Articles this week has reignited a slew of criticism about the beginning of the end for Journalism. Specifically, critics worry that publishers will soon lose control of the content they are creating and distributing. If Instant Articles becomes a necessary method of content distribution, the fear is that publishers will have to edit their content to fit Facebook standards. Also, smaller publishers and brands who rely on referral traffic from Facebook are afraid that already limited organic reach of their posts will be threatened until they are granted access to the Instant Articles publishing tool. Facebook Instant Articles
  6. 6. 6 Why it’s Good for Publishers Nine publishers have partnered with Facebook for the launch: The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild. All content for Interactive Articles will be created by the publishers in their own systems and then converted by Facebook to fit the Instant Articles format. After publishing on Facebook publishers will have the ability to track data and traffic to continuously shape content to audience interests. Apart from creating a smoother reading experience the Instant Articles offer a new possibility for publishers to make money, as Facebook allows publishers to sell ads in the articles and keep the revenue. Facebook Instant Articles “Instant Articles lets [publishers] deliver fast, interactive articles while maintaining control of their content and business models.” – Chris Cox, Facebook Chief Product Officer
  7. 7. 7 How can brands use it? In the immediate future, there’s an opportunity for brands to get involved with Instant Articles via native advertising. Unfortunately, these ad placements are premium and exclusive for publishers’ content. So even if a brand cannot post an Instant Article, they could buy ad space within an active publisher’s Instant Article. Once Instant Articles does become available to brands, it offers another layer of content distribution. In the meantime, brands can try partnering with approved publishers to create branded content for the platform, knowing that the return will be a higher likelihood that users will see the content in their newsfeeds, but the articles will not be driving web traffic. Facebook Instant Articles National Geographic will run ads inside Instant Articles promoting its paid subscriptions. Source: TechCrunch
  8. 8. 8 What’s the verdict for “Journalism”? Right now, it doesn’t seem like Facebook’s main goal is increasing ad revenue from content publishers or controlling the content they are distributing. Instead, they are interested in keeping users engaged within their own app longer, and making the Facebook News Feed more relevant. This is good for content distributors. They still have control of the all content they’re putting out there, although should Instant Articles become a “requirement” for these publishers, that will essentially force publishers to somewhat “let go” of the ability to completely select their content distribution strategy and ad strategy. Facebook Instant Articles “This is a living page. This is a living, breathing article that is beyond just words.” – Shezad Morani, Creative Director NBCNews.com
  9. 9. 9 Implications This changes the measurement game for publishers while certainly improving Facebook’s results. Site traffic will decrease as one of their top referrers disappears (unless of course they continue to use promoted posts AND Instant Articles). Time on site will likely decrease as well as, the likelihood of navigating back to a home page is no longer a possibility. However, since the birth of native advertising and the rise of content marketing, the home page or “cover” has become less relevant. This does allow the actual story to be the hero rather than the creator. Facebook Instant Articles
  10. 10. 10 What’s next? Facebook is planning to eventually roll out Instant Articles to any publisher that shares stories on Facebook. However, they are inviting publishers to upload sponsored content as well (for a fee of course). While it’s limited largely to traditional news outlets and magazines, there could be room in the future for specialty or trade publications to distribute content that they publish on other platforms more effectively right now. For instance, imagine opening a quick link to a recipe with a video demo right on Facebook versus clicking through on Pinterest, or reading posts/watching videos from your favorite bloggers and YouTubers within one dynamic, organized, interactive set of articles. As with previous innovations, we can expect platforms like Twitter to unveil similar functionality in the future. Plus, we expect Facebook to whet brands’ appetites with streamlined functionality before increasing pricing, but for now we can appreciate the new tool for what it is, a product that allows users to consume fast, interactive content on a widely used, trusted mobile-first platform. Facebook Instant Articles

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