Are Facebook Instant Articles a Threat to Publishers?

Facebook Instant Articles
I must say, Facebook has a knack for making everything look good. Like many others, I was quite excited about Facebook Instant Articles and how they have been opened up for all websites and publishers, but it is only recently that I realized the real purpose they serve.

What are Instant Articles?

Instant articles are a way of allowing publishers to host articles on Facebook itself, so that users don’t have to visit the publisher’s website to read them.  So here’s what they truly are : a means to keep users on the platform of Facebook. This way, Facebook will get to show ads within its own platforms, effectively replacing the ads that could have been otherwise served on the website of the publisher (independently or through Google Adwords).

Let us see this in action.

Here’s an article by Hindustan Times as seen on the Facebook Mobile App. The ‘Power’ sign indicates if an article is an Instant Article.

Facebook Mobile Instant Article 1

 

On clicking the article, a Facebook Sponsored Post can be seen inserted in it.

Facebook Mobile Instant Article 3

 

While Facebook is said to have started sharing revenues with publishers (and even optimised ads to increase it), it can’t practically come close to what a Publisher earns otherwise.

Let us look at the same article as seen on a desktop to illustrate the same.

Web Facebook Instant Articles 1

Facebook Web Instant Articles 2

Facebook Web Instant Articles 3

As can be seen, by showcasing the article as an Instant Article, Facebook has conveniently blocked all other forms of advertising on the article and replaced them with its own ads. Each publisher stands to effectively lose a lot of revenue as Instant articles roll out for every publisher. This is presently not a big concern for most, and will not much of a problem to businesses which blog to simply reach out. But those websites that rely heavily on ads on their own platform for their revenue are certainly going to take a hit!

What is your take on Facebook’s Instant Articles? Do share with us in the comments below!

This article has been republished here as part of LeadSquared’s Partnership with Digital Defynd.

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