What Are Facebook Instant Articles, and Why Should You Care?
Just about a year ago, Facebook launched another new option for social media marketers, called “Instant Articles.” It’s a new format for publishing Facebook posts. Previously, your posts had to include an external link to your content. With Instant Articles, you can post the content directly, even if it’s longer material.
Facebook says this change will benefit you in the following ways:
- The ability to integrate more varied content. Think magazines – you get information in text form, heavily integrated with visuals. And you get a compendium of articles, not just one. In the case of Facebook Instant Articles, your content can surpass print because you can incorporate interactive maps, audio captions and auto-play videos. There’s a tilt-to-enhance feature for photos.
- Users get a better experience without the delay associated with downloading external links. Extended wait times are content-killers, but Facebook says Instant Articles are accessible in about one-tenth the time. Less delay can exponentially increase your engagement rate. There’s another benefit here for you, too. Since you can “house” your blog articles, etc. directly to your Facebook page, you don’t necessarily have to maintain an external site for that. You can save time and effort.
- You can customize the way your content looks, to ensure consistent branding. That includes details such as overall layout, the fonts you use and even embedded ads.
- Instant Articles has its own analytics capabilities, but you can also “see” it via whatever analytics process you’re already using.
Before you stop reading because you’re saying what on Earth could this have to do with my dealership?, consider this. You publish content – it’s the cornerstone of your inbound marketing. No, you don’t produce a magazine, a newspaper or a plethora of articles daily or even weekly. Maybe you only produce new content a few times a month. But if Facebook Instant Articles can streamline the process and very possibly improve your results, you just might want to use it.
Besides, keeping up with new developments in social media enables you to identify and make use of opportunities to reach out to your prospects and customers.
So how is Instant Articles working?
When they introduced this new option, Facebook predicted users would see better results from their content marketing on Facebook. To test that assertion, over the past months several major publishers have tried out Instant Articles. We’re talking big names like the Washington Post. Some – like the Post – publish content in print as well as online, others involved in the test are strictly online publishers. Their results are interesting.
On the one hand, at least some of the publishers have seen better results. But they complain about the downsides of Instant Articles – lack of control over distribution of their content and lack of control over their ability to monetize it. Some complain that the promised analytics aren’t adequate.
- The Washington Post reports a substantial increase in repeat visitors within a week of publishing a new article. But what they really want is for visitors to directly visit their website to subscribe.
- Slate, an online magazine about culture and politics, has seen about 25% increased engagement. They like the “fast, clean reading experience.”
- LittleThings, another strictly online publisher, uses Instant Articles to publish longer posts, because it gives them more opportunities to include ads. They’ve seen a 15% increase in article sharing.
- The Atlantic is publishing about 85% of their content via Instant Articles, hoping to reach a wider audience. The jury is still out on results.
Clearly, this may not be a revolutionary new development for your dealership. As of now, only about 100 companies are using Instate Articles, none of them small businesses. But staying on top of what’s new can help you stay ahead of the competition.
So think of Instant Articles as a conversation-starter with your marketing team. Here at ADI Agency, we know all the latest social media tactics. Even more important, we also know construction and trucking first-hand. That means we can help you know exactly what makes the most sense to reach your specific audiences. Let’s talk.