In May, Facebook launched Instant Articles; stories from different publishers hosted directly on Facebook. These articles do not require readers to click to an external site, instead encouraging interactivity within Facebook’s own ecosystem.
But are they working? We checked in with one user, Rare.us, to hear about their early results.
2015 Facebook Industry Report
Facebook reports that Instant Articles load as much as 10 times faster than the standard mobile web, and publishing giants like The New York Times, National Geographic, and BuzzFeed have all signed on. Facebook recently even rolled out Instant Articles in its huge Asia-Pacific market, signaling the success that this feature has seen.
Over the last few months, Facebook has also heard concerns from publishers about the limits on the number of ads they can show per article and the types of ads they can show.
This kind of control has generated grumbles from some publishers, but there are two sides to the coin: because only one ad unit is allowed per article, users are compelled to spend more time with content, which means both advertisers and users are receiving better quality experiences — something “America’s News Feed” Rare has certainly found to be true (more on that later).
Facebook’s willingness to accommodate publishers in other ways may also trump publishers’ initial concerns. Facebook lets publishers use their own third-party analytics tools, keep 100% of ad inventory they fill, and publish as much or as little as they want in Instant Articles.
Are Instant Articles Working?
Results may vary by user, but according to Rare.us, the news site has experienced massive success with Instant Articles.
According to their website, Rare leverages social media to cover national news, politics, culture, and more, driving conversation by delivering the buzzworthy content Americans like to share. Rare has been dubbed “America’s News Feed” and one of the fastest-growing sites in the United States (40 million monthly visits).
Since Rare introduced Instant Articles on Tuesday, Nov. 24, Rare’s traffic from the Facebook Apple iPhone app has increased by 30%, meaning more views and shares from Instant Articles than typical content.
Rare has also seen an average increase of 1-2 minutes more time spent on Instant Articles — another 30% increase. This increase means users are spending more time with the content, which speaks to a better experience for users and more opportunity for advertisers.
What Will Your Brand Do with Facebook Instant Articles?
Which benefit does Facebook Instant Articles have for you? How does this feature fit into the broader quality-not-quantity content landscape which publishers are moving towards? Let us know in the comments below and download our guide below to learn about other social trends we think will strike it big in 2016.