Announced two weeks ago, Facebook’s ‘Instant Articles’ tool enables news organizations to embed their content directly within the Facebook news feed itself.
Instant Articles is essentially a fix to address reader impatience with download times for content. Facebook says Instant Articles will load up to 10x faster than if a user were to click a link to an external site. This addresses a pain point for publishers in markets with slow download times, such as Myanmar, where links to publishers web sites can take minutes to download or may not download at all.
There’s also room for advert placement within the articles, comScore data tracking and other analytics available.
Originally available to nine partners (none yet in our markets of Thailand, Myanmar or Vietnam), there’s no known timeline to see this roll out to all publishers. We believe that publishers in ASEAN will accept a trial of instant articles when Facebook decides to make the service available here.
For PR agencies and digital marketers, Instant Articles provides a new way to expand reach and impressions. A story placed by a news organization as an Instant Article is sure to gain greater impressions and engagement, particularly when the service first launches. The key is having the right content to satisfy publishers and their expanded base of mobile content consumers. For content creators, this should mean more use of video and Vine in particular, more emphasis on compelling headlines and sub heads, use of images, maps and infographics – essentially content that is created for millennial mobile consumers. These are all things that PR and digital marketing PR actioners should be doing already. But now, with the emergence of Instant Articles, there is an even greater need to hone these skills.