Facebook Instant ArticlesThe time is finally upon us. Facebook Instant Articles, the feature that the social platform quietly rolled out last October to a carefully chosen group of premium publishers, is due to fling open its doors to all on April 12.

Hailed as a feature that could dramatically change the face of the publishing industry, opening this feature up to all publishers has certainly sparked a great deal of conversation amongst content marketers about whether or not they might be invited to the party, as well as wondering whether it is the right move for their business.

So, what could Facebook Instant Articles mean for content marketers moving forward?

Facebook Instant Articles explained

In its simplest form, Facebook Instant Articles offers publishers a new method of delivering content with an emphasis on the ever-increasing usage of mobile. Publishers such as The Huffington Post, National Geographic and The New York Times have been able to optimise their content so users can access it instantly, minimising painfully slow loading times. With two-thirds of Facebook users getting their news via the social network (according to Pew Research) and a colossal figure of 934 million daily mobile active users, it is no wonder that businesses are wondering if they can cash in on this new development.

When Facebook first announced the feature was open to all publishers, it generated a little bit of confusion. Did they mean just news publishers? Those the feature was originally designed for? Or anyone that creates and publishes content? The latter would be good news for content marketers. Facebook’s answer to this question was that: “In April, Instant articles will be open to any publishers that wish to join, but it is primarily designed for news publishers.” Additionally, Facebook have announced another interesting plus point to the feature – video ads.

To us, that sounds like the door is open and beckoning to content marketers keen to act as vanguard for a potentially exciting sharing platform.

Is Facebook Instant Articles for you?

The big selling point of Instant Articles for users is the fact that images, auto-play video and interactive content will load fast on your mobile device. Users do not need to leave the social networking site in order to read the content they desire whilst enjoying a higher quality experience. The feature paves the way for your brand to reach an even wider audience, appealing to those that would not navigate away from Facebook to other sites for content.

As well as sharing your brand’s expertly crafted content directly to the platform, you also have the option to include video ads, boosting your the visibility of your business even further, and hopefully increasing engagement too. And publishers that include their own ads will receive 100% of any resulting revenue.

Of course, the idea of potentially taking the time to tailor your content it to suit a new platform may offer a certain level of apprehension amongst those who are comfortable with their current platforms and methods of measuring success. Particularly amongst smaller brands who may not have the time and resources to experiment with the new publishing process. However, Instant Articles offers the opportunity to customise the format and design of your content in order to personalise it to your brand.

Additionally, although users reading your Facebook Instant Article content will not leave the networking platform to click through to your website (thereby not counting as referral traffic from Facebook), it does allow you to use standard analytics tools such as Google Analytics to keep you informed on overall visitor counts.

Another welcome bit of news for businesses that run a company blog via WordPress, is that the PageFrog plugin has been launched to help prepare your content for Instant Article success. This has the additional benefit of optimising your content for Google Accelerated Mobile Pages – two birds, one stone.

Facebook Instant Articles may not be for everyone – its success is yet to be revealed. One thing is for sure though, even if you are not signing up for it quite yet, the advent of these articles will heighten the demand for a superior mobile experience. As we’ve said time and again, if your site isn’t optimised for mobile, better get cracking.

Ben Hollom

April 7, 2016