Instant Article is a feature introduced by Facebook which gives content publishers the opportunity to publish content directly on Facebook from any CMS. The articles can be accessed directly on Facebook Mobile App & the interface is similar to the website of the original publisher. Instant Articles display as much as ten times faster than standard mobile web articles. It includes some cool features like tilt-to-pan photos, auto-play video, interactive maps.
Why Facebook Launched Instant Articles?
Facebook discovered that posts are getting much more engagement on their app in comparison to the original site. So, in order to bypass this gap, Facebook decided to give the publisher the liberty to publish directly on their platform which is way fast & responsive as the audience will not have to click the link anymore to go to the publisher’s website but can access it right in the app. With this new feature, Facebook can offer more content at a fast pace to its audience.
How Does It Affect Website Traffic & SEO?
Instant Articles provides the audience the option to view an article right in the mobile app without even clicking a link. So, there is a fear among the marketers that this might lead to a decline in referral traffic from Facebook. Well, it may be a fact that referral traffic may decline somewhat but on the other hand, your content ‘s reach increase manifolds among the Facebook audience. You can publish simultaneously on Instant Articles & on your site but in that case, Facebook has to implement “Noindex” content on their platform to prevent search engines from crawling it to avoid duplicate content issues.
When a publisher hosts an article on their own website, any links from other sites that mentioned that article link directly to their own website which can increase it’s Domain Authority.
But with Facebook Instant Articles, sharing and linking are contained within Facebook itself. Therefore when someone shares the article it will not link back to the publisher’s website. This means although their content is getting more exposure eventually, publishers are risking search traffic if they are opting for Instant Articles.
Facebook Will Have The Last Laugh Over Publisher’s Content
When a publisher is opting for Instant Article he is giving up the control of their content distribution & hence the marketers will not able to predict their target audience for driving conversions as they do with their websites & blogs. Facebook can boot out average contents if they feel they are not engaging enough & these can cause a major drop in conversion & potential clients for the respective publishers.Another factor is when audiences are reading the post on your site you can keep them engaged by recommending other related contents on your blog which you cannot do with the in-app.
What About Insights?
Instant Articles can provide an in-depth insight about your content like the number of people clicking on it, total time spent reading the content, scroll speed. These are some advanced metrics that can aid publishers to produce more engaging content for the Facebook audience.By measuring these metrics the publishers can get more value out of their content marketing campaigns.
Do We have An Alternative Platform?
Google & Twitter have devised an open source Content Delivery Platform. When people click on links in either a Twitter feed or a Google search, full articles will pop up immediately versus waiting several seconds. But what set this platform apart from Instant Articles is that Google & Twitter will not actually host the content but they will be showing the cached pages on publisher’s websites. Unlike Facebook Instant Articles it will not be branded & being an Open Source platform any company can use & build upon it.
It’s just a new channel for increasing the visibility of your contents on social media which will not have a direct influence on search as such. If you are not among the selected publishers then you don’t have to worry about Instant Articles but if you are using it then do publish the content simultaneously on your site as well for your best interest.