Get First Mover Advantage Now with Instant Articles and AMP

by | Apr 27, 2016 | Actionable SEO Tips, Social Media Marketing Tips

By Colm O’ Sullivan, SEO Specialist, AIM.

Instant Articles facebookIn the coming years we’ll look back on the first Quarter of 2016 as a ground breaking one for how we consume information on mobile devices.

In late February, Google launched their Accelerated Mobile Pages while, at F8 in early April Facebook announced the rollout of their Instant Articles to all publishers.

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is currently ramping up its offering with a stand-alone carousel in News for AMP stories. The rollout of AMP to the wider web is expected later this year.

Facebook’s Instant Articles are similar to AMP pages in that they are both quick-loading mobile optimised versions of web articles. Both load as much as 10 times faster than standard mobile websites and both are provide a great user browsing experience. The major difference between the two is that with Instant Articles, users stay on Facebook to view content rather than follow a link to another site.

That all sounds great for the end user. Load speed has always been a massive issue on mobile, and that will only get bigger as the human attention span continues to decrease. The average attention span has decreased by 33% over the past 15 years alone. Our average attention span is now 8 seconds. A goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds.

goldfish attention span

What Do Facebook Instant Articles Mean For Marketers?

Everything points towards fast-loading articles becoming the standard on mobile devices.  Mobile is an increasingly important part of the social web. This is particularly true for Facebook. The social network has 1.44 billion mobile monthly active users with over 50% of these accessing Facebook exclusively via mobile. That’s a huge number. Instant Articles allow us to deliver content that’s optimised for these mobile users. The benefits will be huge.

Initial results for Facebook Instant Articles are extremely positive. During F8, Facebook announced that users are opening Instant Articles 20% more frequently than mobile Web articles and sharing 30% more Instant Articles, on average. They also stated that users are 70% less likely to abandon an Instant Article immediately “because they’re not stuck waiting for it to load.”

Instant Artciles - Mobile platform

If email open rates increased by 20% overnight, due to a new feature by Gmail we’d be ecstatic. We’d be calling it a game changer and we’d forming a massive queue to jump on it straight away. And rightly so!

So Why Are Facebook Instant Articles Getting So Much Negative Press Amongst Marketers?

With the Instant Articles rollout, there are some valid concerns about losing traffic to your site.

In terms of referral traffic, mobile users who view your content as a Facebook instant article won’t actually visit your website, and therefore won’t be counted as referral traffic from Facebook.

More importantly, it also means that there are less opportunities to collect email addresses. The very effective entry and exit pop ups aren’t allowed inside Instant Articles so you’re going to have to rely on the old-fashioned email sign up box for lead generation.

That’s certainly a negative for marketers and before you begin your Instant Articles testing you should check your analytics to see what percentage of email signups through your website pop-ups come through mobile.

The bottom line on Instant Articles is the improvement in load times and performance is too great for it not to be adopted quickly by the end user. Fast-loading articles are still in their infancy and there are a lot of things marketers have yet to figure out. However, Instant Articles are here to stay and we’re going to have to embrace them sooner or later, so why not test it out now and gain some early mover advantage?

Since it was rolled out to all Publishers, the number of articles you initially have to submit has been reduced from 50 to 10 so it isn’t as labour intensive as it was to sign up a month ago.

PageFrog is one of the best plugins out there for integrating your WordPress site with Instant Articles. Check it out.

If you need help integrating Instant Articles with your site, or you want to discuss the pros and cons of the platform a little more, please get in touch.

Thanks for reading,

Colm O Sullivan Sig

Colm O’Sullivan
SEO Specialist

P.S. AIM provides a number of digital marketing services that can help grow your business.  Contact us today to find out more.