What is Facebook Instant Articles and does it replace my blog?

Question: should I be using Facebook Instant Articles, and does it replace by blog.

Answer: yes and no. Glad we sorted that one out. Merry Christmas and we’ll chat in the New Year.
Okay, so I’m guessing you need a little more info than that. Fair point.

What is Facebook Instant Articles?

To quote Facebook: “Instant Articles is a new way for any publisher to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook.

Is it just for publishing houses?

No. It’s for anyone adopting the publisher platform model; meaning, your content is incredibly relevant, immersive and alluring, that people seek out your digital property – in the same way we seek out media published content.

What is it and why should I use it?

To answer this, we need to quickly cover online versus mobile; Dumbing down years of debate – and certainly not marginalising the millions (if not billions) of dollars of global development budget, when it comes to digital customers we have little patience for slow response rates and poor user experience – UX.

Society demands information. We want it now, not when 3G has decided it’s time to buffer. Exactly how did we cope pre 3G… First world problems, I hear you say.

Anyway, we all demand immersive experiences. We want content that informs and, to a degree, entertains. I don’t exclusively mean humour either; a beautiful image or a visual story is incredibly entertaining.

Facebook understand this better than any platform in the world. For years they’ve had developers working on UX. Producing a platform that will permit the seamless distribution of rich and immersive content. They’re now reaping the Ad budget rewards as a result.

In 2014 I heard Zuckerberg speak at Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona. He was announcing the $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp. The ensuing Q&A saw an audience member ask: “how do I build billion dollar organisation?” without a seconds thoughts Zuckerberg replied: “focus on the user experience. Too many business focus on monetisation, too soon. Get the experience right and the money will follow!”

And that’s exactly what Facebook have done brilliantly, for years.

Facebook Instant Articles is incredibly fast and responsive. Their description says: “Leveraging the same technology used to display photos and videos quickly in the Facebook app, articles load instantly in News Feed, and readers really like the speed.”

In fact, Facebook claim Instant Articles load 10 times faster than standard mobile web articles; are read 20 times more than standard mobile articles; and, are 70% less likely to see an article abandoned.

For years, we’ve waxed lyrical about the importance of storytelling – admittedly some brands and agencies are only just arriving at the party that’s been going strong for six-years or more, but better late than never.

Everyone hungers for their content to be shared and with Facebook claiming Instant Articles are shared 30 times more, you can see the appeal.

Finally, does it replace my blog? No. It’s sympathetic to it. Take your long-form written content and flip into Instant Articles. The statistics boasted by Facebook are staggering. The question is, what would those stats mean for your content and brand?

Merry Christmas and Happy Instant Article-ling.

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