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The company that changed the face of social media has decided to change the face of online content creation and distribution. Facebook Instant Articles is a new mobile platform for publishers to post their own mixed-media content -- not only articles, but also native ads. Here's what you need to know about the revolutionary new option for your digital trade publication.
Your Content Will Look and Sound Amazing
Facebook Instant Articles can turn static articles into multimedia extravaganzas, thanks to an intuitive set of publishing tools. Videos, interactive photos and maps, rich points that allow readers to dig deeper (or not), audio captions, in-line commenting, and other capabilities all add up to a completely immersive user experience. If you haven't been taking full advantage of a mixed media platform, here's your chance to see just how big a difference it can make.
Sharing Still Benefits Your Website
Although publishers have total control over what goes into their Instant Articles -- including the ability to post their own native ads -- Facebook relegates that content to its own mobile app environment. But even if the experience is self-contained, the benefits to your company's web presence aren't.
Instant Articles is all about sharing, and the presence of a handy "Share" button toward the top of the article will encourage free and easy sharing even among readers who may not be all that familiar with your publication. Better yet, every time someone clicks on your article, that click is credited as incoming traffic for your website, with shared links going to your publication.
You'll Get All (or Most) of the Revenue from Your Native Ads
So you'd like to receive a substantial cut of the revenues your native bring in via Facebook Instant Articles. How does 100 percent sound? Believe it or not, that's the deal. As long as your publication is selling the ads directly, you'll receive all of the revenue from those sales. But even if you rely on the Facebook network to do the selling for you, you'll still come out ahead of the game -- 70 percent ahead, to be exact.
All the Cool Kids Are Doing It
No fewer than nine major publishers worldwide have agreed to join the Facebook Instant Articles bandwagon as partners in the initial launch. These include the New York Times, the Guardian, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, ABC News, the Atlantic, BBC News, Bild, and Spiegel Online. This is significant because it provides a solid foundation for the platform to succeed in a big way instead of becoming a great idea that flopped. Early adoption by big publishers could help stabilize the ground for other publishers who wish to step onto the playing field.
Trade Publishers Have the Jump on Brand Publishers
The ability for publishers to make a tidy profit on their own native ads is one of the biggest attractions of Facebook Instant Articles for publishers, which means that it will be one the most important factors in the fast and broad adoptions of the new service. With this in mind, Facebook hasn't extended the same open invitation to brands that have branched toward publishing -- at least not yet.
As brilliant as Facebook Instant Articles may seem, keep one critical caveat in mind. In embracing such a feature-platform, some publishers could easily fall into the trap of putting too many of their eggs into this particular basket. Make Facebook Instant Articles part of a balanced, diversified online presence, and your publication will get the most out of all the Internet has to offer.