As more people turn to Facebook to curate their daily news, the social media giant is setting out to improve the user experience and encourage more time spent in the app with the launch of a dynamic news service called Instant Articles.
What are Instant Articles?
Facebook recently debuted its new Instant Articles feature, which enables media companies to create interactive, custom content published natively through Facebook’s iPhone app. Articles offered by its nine inaugural partners will be media rich and will load 10x faster than mobile web.
With more than 1.4 billion active monthly users worldwide, Facebook is a force that cannot be ignored. So how will Instant Articles affect your content strategy? While Instant Articles are still limited to a handful of publishers, we envision it as a powerful resource for brand publishers should it be released to a wider audience.
What Can Brands do Now?
As we learn more about Instant Articles, we recognize that advertising will play a big role for both publishers and brands alike. Here are a few ways to get in at the ground floor:
- Advertising: Brands can buy ad space directly from Instant Article publishers. These are premium placements so they won’t come cheap and it’s too early to determine how people will engage with these articles.
- Sponsored Content: Brands can take it a step further and create sponsored content with the publishing partners. Check out how BuzzFeed is utilizing sponsored content in Instant Articles and how they are helping brands “tell their stories with great content rather than with banner ads.”
How to Prepare for the Future of Instant Articles
Without knowing how Facebook will push out Instant Articles to a greater audience, brands will need to pay close attention and be flexible with their content strategy. Here are a few things to consider:
- Content Audit: Review social posts from the past six months to see what type of content performed well and what assets you already have.
- Visual Assets: Videos and interactive photos are lead features in Instant Articles. Figure out how you can tell your stories in more visual ways so assets can easily be adapted for Instant Articles.
- Content Plan: From the looks of it, Instant Articles will require a significant amount of time, money and resources. Not every piece of content will be Instant Article worthy, so define your strategy and what resources you have and/or need to implement it.
- Mobile Ads: Mobile ads account for the majority of Facebook’s revenue growth, and it is clear that each advancement the network pushes out is geared toward mobile users.
While much is still unknown about the future of Instant Articles, we see huge potential in this realm for brands and their content marketing programs. Do you agree? How do you envision Instant Articles impacting brand publishers long term?