How do top digital publishers (in the world) use Facebook instant news articles successfully?
First introduced in 2015, Facebook Instant Articles provides a means for publishers to "create fast, interactive articles on Facebook." Content can be published easily and articles will load quickly on mobile devices for the end-user. Instant Articles are easy for a publisher of any size to use and circulate content.
During our research, we noted that well-known, top digital publishers were less inclined to use Facebook Instant Articles. This was primarily due to the fact that the content is not hosted on their site. Instead, the user remains on Facebook. As a result, we broadened our search to smaller digital publishers who use Facebook Instant Articles successfully. We located several Facebook case studies for following digital publishers: Rodale Inc., For the Win, Gray Television, The Quint, IndiaTimes, and KIT.
The results of our research are included below.
Rodale, Inc. is a well-known publisher in the health and wellness sector. Notable brands under the Rodale umbrella include Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World.
Rodale uses Facebook Instant Articles in the following ways;
Sell Ads Directly — While not specific to news articles, Rodale integrated Instant Articles with their direct-sold campaigns. By using the Instant Article's faster load time and immersive design, Rodale was able to increase reader engagement. Facebook doesn’t currently charge to include direct-sold ads within Instant Articles. This has allowed Rodale to focus "a majority of its monetization strategy on this method and keeps 100% of the revenue."
Audience Network — Facebook's Audience Network (FAN) is Facebook's platform that delivers relevant ads to users via apps and mobile websites outside of Facebook. Through FAN, Facebook ads can appear on sites, such as Huffington Post and Shazam. Rodale was able to leverage the Audience Network to supplement for times when they were unable to fill its given ad space with direct-sold ads.
Branded Content — Rodale leveraged the quicker load times and consumer engagement into branded content stories by tagging them with a sponsor, such as Men's Health.
FOR THE WIN
For the Win (FTW) is a US-based digital publisher that concentrates on providing viral sports moments. Run by USA Today, FTW instituted Instant Articles to provide users with visually appealing content at a decreased load time. Through Instant Articles, FTW was able to integrate high resolution, interactive photos, slideshows, and properly embed tweets, posts, and gifs within their news content.
By using Instant Articles, FTW was successful in formatting its articles to deliver seamless sports content.
Gray Television is a US-based owner and operator of 51 local television stations. Its primary motivation for the use of Facebook's Instant Articles was to deliver a quality news experience to the place where many of their users obtain information — Facebook. The appeal of Instant Articles to Gray lies in the ease of integration of content produced by its newsroom to online articles. The strategy behind this move was centered on increasing the popularity of online content and reaching new users. In essence, Gray was seeking to monetize its Facebook following.
As a result of implementing Instant Articles, Gray was able to generate $250,000 in revenue from Facebook's Audience Network within 6 months of its initial launch. Gray has also seen positive results in website traffic. According to Mike Braun, VP of Digital, "We’ve been pleased with Instant Articles, both from a support and revenue standpoint. We were able to create a workflow that put no additional burdens on our newsrooms, while generating new revenue for our stations. Most importantly, we’re confident that Facebook users in the communities we serve are getting the best possible content experience. That makes us more competitive."
The Quint is a digital publisher in India whose focus is on the millennial market. Their mission is to provide relevant and current news content to its 8.8 million readers. For Quint, the appeal of Instant Articles comes from its fast load time, as 80% of their readership occurs on mobile devices. To create content that would appeal to its users, the Quint was able to use Instant Articles to incorporate high-resolution graphics, video, and audio into their news stories without impacting load time.
Since implementation, the Quint has seen the growth in its traffic and viewer engagement in the following ways;
----25% of their traffic comes from Instant Articles
----25% increase in time spent viewing Instant Articles, month over month
In addition, the Quint was able to monetize Instant Articles through Facebook's Audience Network. Through this approach, the Quint's CPM (clicks per minute) is 2x higher than other advertising networks that they use.
IndiaTimes is a leading news publisher in India. In November 2015, they began using Instant Articles to quickly publish their news content. Their overall goal was increasing consumer engagement, as indicated by Angad Bhatia, COO of IndiaTimes, "the quick load times and immersive storytelling features of Instant Articles help our readers engage with our content even better."
Some examples of their success with Instant Articles include;
---60% Of All Mobile Traffic Comes From Instant Articles
---30% Better Scroll Depth Compared to Mobile Web
---40% Higher CTRs in Direct-Sold Ads Compared to Mobile Web
---30% higher eCPMs Using Facebook’s Audience Network
---70% Lift in Mobile UV’s since Adopting Instant Articles
KIT is a Swedish-based online news publisher that was established in April 2015. Their content is focused on society and culture. The philosophy and primary motivation for KIT to use Instant Articles was to provide readers with a great reading experience. Through the tools of Instant Articles, KIT was able to establish a visual identity, develop branded content, and monetize articles through Audience Network.
Since KIT is a relatively new company, it was difficult to determine how Instant Articles impacted their business. However, Fredrik Strömberg, the publisher’s co-founder and VP of Product, appears to be happy with the implementation as he stated that following "Through the experience of reading Instant Articles, reading KIT is better, and over time that helps the perception of the brand."
Digital publishers who are using Facebook Instant Articles successfully include Rodale Inc., For the Win, Gray Television, The Quint, Indiatimes, and KIT. Digital publishers are using Facebook Instant Articles successfully by monetizing articles, leveraging the Facebook Audience Network to generate revenue, and using branded content.