- Facebook is adding larger and more flexible ad units to its mobile optimized Instant Articles, as well as new areas of publisher value, according to a company blog post.
- Along with the expanded format options, publishers can now also serve video and native Carousel ads across the iOS and Android versions of the app.
- The three main areas of publisher value for Instant Articles include direct sold campaigns, which provide publishers with 100% of ad revenue; the ability to tap into Facebook’s Audience Network of four million advertisers; and an extension of branded content.
The move to increase publisher value and revenue potential with Instant Articles is likely a response to the growing popularity of Google’s open-source Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project, which received major optimization updates just last month. Facebook's new options also aim to keep publishers within the company's walled garden of platforms and apps, but those who have already started to take advantage of AMP have full control over the content and advertising on Google's pages, whereas Instant Articles remain firmly within Facebook’s ecosystem. Video and native Carousel ads have both proven to be successful for Facebook in its news feeds and porting them over to Instant Articles is likely to appeal to brands looking at reaching publishers' audiences.
Facebook still has a considerable pool of advertisers for publishers to draw on, and the ability to net 100% of revenue from campaigns on mobile might be appealing. To show the potential benefits of the new Instant features, Facebook highlighted Vox Media’s success with its proprietary Athena ad unit on the app.
“Over the past four years, Vox Media successfully developed the most effective creative ad formats, technology and ad-tech platform that both optimizes in real-time and captures creative insights for our partners," said Joe Alicata, VP of Revenue Product and Operations at Vox Media, in the Facebook post. "We worked with Facebook to incorporate these high performing ad units and capabilities in Instant Articles, to reach our valuable audiences who are watching, reading and sharing amazing content on this platform.”
Both Google and Facebook are looking to build relationships with publishers as content consumption on mobile grows. For their part, publishers need to find ways to generate revenue from digital content.