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A new type of content on social media

May 19, 2015

Instant Articles will natively load publisher content in Facebook. 

Facebook is introducing a new format to social media content. While some debate exists surrounding the changes, several media outlets are already on board. The willingness of publishers to volunteer their content is testament to the power of e-commerce. In today’s business environment, increasing visibility and awareness of one’s brand is paramount. Perhaps all companies can learn something from this story.

Instant Articles on Facebook could be a new stage in the progression of content
TheNextWeb reported that Facebook recently announced the unveiling of Instant Articles. The new format of content will allow publishers to provide users with articles that load natively inside Facebook’s iPhone app. This feature is meant to make it easier for users to read third-party content on Facebook, without having to exit the application and click through to the host website. At the time of launch, USA Today, The New York Times, National Geographic BuzzFeed, NBC and The Atlantic will be immediately participating. The U.K.’s BBC News and The Guardian will also be represented.

“In this case, it is all about visibility.”

According to Recode.net, the social media company also made the terms for the content plan public and they seem to be favorable for publishers. Media outlets will be able to easily expand their viewership rates by allowing Facebook users to access their content on the site directly. The network currently has upwards of 1.25 billion users. There are no commitments from publishers to run articles with Facebook for any amount of time and publishers can end the collaboration any time they want. That does not mean that media outlets are not being careful. The New York Times will publish a single story on Facebook Wednesday.

“We’re going in with our eyes open,” said New York Times CEO Mark Thompson.

‘Cautiously optimistic’ media outlets
Recode.net pointed out that despite all the positive sentiment, web publishers might want to be careful before giving Facebook too much power over their content. Despite the very publisher-friendly program, some remain worried about not retaining full control. Greg Coleman, BuzzFeed president, is not one of the naysayers, and gave his endorsement of the program.

“Facebook really understood what would be important to us,” said Coleman, according to the news source. “So instead of acting like someone who would dictate, they came to us and asked us what would be great for BuzzFeed.”

Facebook generates most of its revenue from targeted advertising. Publishers will feature their content on Facebook.

TheNextWeb mentioned that Facebook will offer publishers 100 percent of ad revenue from Instant Articles. The articles can include one 300 x 250 banner advertisement. The company is also offering publishers analytics data that they can later use for their own business purposes. Data stemming from Instant Articles will also go to ComScore so publishers do not experience a drop in web traffic.

Ultimately, for publishers, the main incentive to feature content on Facebook is not advertising revenue. In this case, it is all about visibility. With so many users accessing Facebook everyday, any company frequently featured in News Feeds essentially enjoys free marketing and publicity. Another important point is that getting content featured on social media positions a company as being progressive and modern. This should serve as an example for any business wanting to access new customers and expand into new markets. As previously mentioned, in today’s business environment, having an online presence is paramount. Investment in e-commerce technology, online payment platforms and a fresh website, paired with the right social media marketing campaign, may be what you need to take your business to the next level.  

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