What You Need To Know About Facebook’s Instant Articles Platform

Facebook’s new Instant Articles Platform gives select publishers a chance to post articles that will be visible to all mobile Facebook users. The social media giant promises that the platform “displays stories as much as 10x faster than conventional mobile browsers”. However, there are some concerns that it could cause problems for anyone using content marketing as part of their SEO strategy.

Instant Articles is able to display content so quickly because it doesn’t require that the user click on a link and wait for the page to load from the app. Instead, mobile users can get the content they want to see instantly in-app.

Who Can Post Instant Articles?

There are nine launch partners, which include major publications such as NBC, BBC News, the NY Times, BuzzFeed, National Geographic, and others. Instead of articles getting shared on Facebook, they are directly posted onto the new platform and delivered instantly to interested users. The articles are posted with templates that mirror the appearance of the brands. The workflow can even be automated with the use of RSS. Facebook is allowing publishers to keep 100% of the revenue they sell against the posted stories.

Publishers’ sponsored content, such as posts on BuzzFeed, are allowed to be uploaded into the system.

What is the Motivation for This New Platform?

It’s been common knowledge for awhile now that some articles are getting more shares, visits, and comments from within the Facebook app than they were on the actual external site. It makes sense to offer publishers with a way bypass that gap and to capitalize fully on the audience through a more direct approach.

What potential problems can Instant Articles cause in the future?

Facebook has control over which publishers get to post and which ones get the most visibility. Since user engagement is so important with social media, Facebook may start displaying more content from the stronger publishers and less content from weaker publishers who don’t experience as much user engagement. If the gap between strong content and weak content is widened, there might ultimately be problems for new players trying to increase online visibility.

What benefits can publishers expect?

In addition to automated workflow options, selected publishers will be able to include multimedia elements, such as videos, images, and even embedded Tweets in their posts. Also, publishers will have access to in-depth analytics on user engagement. The analytics cover fundamental information such as the number of people who expand the article as well as more detailed information such as the speed of scrolling and time spent reading each article.

How Does Instant Articles Affect SEO Overall?

As of right now, this platform doesn’t affect SEO strategies much at all. Only a small handful of publishers have access to it, and they post their articles on their website as well as in the app. This new platform offers opportunities for visibility and traffic, yet does not directly influence search rankings.

Only time will tell if it will affect SEO in the future, and if it does, what exactly that would mean to other content marketers. Also, if it’s a success, Instant Articles may pave way for new forms of content sharing and consumption from other social media channels.


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