- Facebook is increasing the business value of Instant Articles by allowing publishers to encourage readers to like pages and sign up for email newsletters within the mobile publishing format, according to a Facebook announcement from product manager Josh Roberts. Publishers will be able to access insights on the performance of the call-to-action units.
- The social media colossus said it will continue to augment Instant Articles to deepen relationships between publishers and their audiences. It’s already testing a way for people to sign up for free trials to publishers’ digital subscriptions and prod them to install mobiles apps.
- The new call-to-action units follow Facebook focusing on the monetization of Instant Articles by rolling out video and carousel ads on iOS and Android versions of it, permitting publishers to extend branded content to Instant Articles, fostering direct sold campaigns providing publishers 100% of ad revenue and pumping up the number of ads per Instant Articles story, among several updates.
Amid the kerfuffle over fake news and media properties’ ongoing struggles with the digitization of content consumption, Facebook is making a strong appeal to the financial interests of publishers by refining Instant Articles with call-to-action units and ad integration. The latest updates push the fast-loading mobile viewing product, which was in the past essentially only for reading, nearer to publishers' traditional mobile websites with all the reader engagement and revenue generating possibilities they entail. AdAge suggests, however, some publishers remain concerned Instant Articles threatens their businesses by siphoning off readers.
Facebook sweetened its Instant Articles pitch to publishers with examples of call-to-action success using the mobile publishing format. In Facebook's announcement of the call-to-action units, Slate revealed Instant Articles call-to-action has been responsible for 41% of the growth in the list of readers receiving its daily newsletter. The Huffington Post disclosed Instant Articles is one of its highest performing acquisition channels for its email newsletter subscribers. Over the past three months, the publication said calls-to-action on Instant Articles accounted for 29% of its morning email newsletter signups. The Huffington Post also reported signups obtained via Instant Articles are retained as long as signups secured from its websites.
The Instant Articles call-to-action units come as Facebook has been working closely with publishers under the umbrella of the Facebook Journalism Project. The project is exploring features like story packages that bundle articles together, journalism courses teaching journalists about using Facebook, investment in local news and tools to combat fake news, a problem that became especially acute during the presidential campaign. The latest in the fight against fake news is that Facebook has introduced an ad atop feeds linking to tips on identifying and reporting fake news.