With its new offering “Instant Articles,” Facebook hopes to revolutionize how publishers post content to its network. On April 12th, the company will unveil the new feature on iPhone and Android Facebook apps, allowing publishers to post content (even longform) directly instead of via external links.
What does all this mean for you and your brand? Here are some main points.
Integrated, Innovative Content
Instant Articles aim to achieve on social media what a magazine can in print: a relationship between written and visual content. As well as magazines do this, Facebook’s format is arguably better. Its seamless integration of auto-play videos, tilt-to-enhance photo feature, interactive maps and audio captions top all previous types of articles.
Less Wait Time
When content links to an external source, download time drags on for an average of eight seconds. Unfortunately, that can be long enough for users to lose interest. Since Instant Articles won’t redirect the audience, it will decrease their wait time tenfold. The new speed should keep both users and brands happy with quicker access to information. Plus, blog posts and other longform content can live directly on a Facebook page, which cuts down on the time and energy spent to maintain an external site.
Continued Brand Presence
To support a smooth transition for your brand, Facebook will allow customization in the look and feel of your content, including everything from typeface and layout to the ads that run within. You can even continue with your own analytics, although the new feature will provide its own option.
Potential for Better Results
The few lucky brands that have tested Instant Articles have good things to report. The Washington Post has seen a significant increase in repeat visitors, and LittleThings.com has earned a 15 percent increase in shares. While the latter has acknowledged that the feature may decrease its direct page views, the advertising included in the content makes up for that. See a more in-depth review from The Washington Post and other companies here.