But now, we can replace that adage with “FAST loading content is king.” Facebook officially rolled out a new feature, Instant Articles, for all users.
Instant Articles must first be published on your own website or mobile app and then be converted into an Instant Article. Instant Articles’ most obvious benefit is to increase speed of access to content. This lightening fast mobile-only feature loads content up to 10 times faster than standard mobile web articles.
That means less friction in opening articles on the Facebook newsfeed, which makes it more likely that people check out the content and spend time with it.
Given the fact that 90 percent of Facebook’s monthly active users access the platform on mobile, it’s critical that brands and businesses understand the importance of speed.
According to online ecommerce solution, Shopify, in 1999 the average user was willing to wait eight seconds for a page to load. By 2010, 57 percent of online shoppers said they would abandon a page after three seconds. And 58 percent of mobile users say they expect their mobile website to load almost as fast to even faster than the experience they get on their desktop browser.
Content is becoming more and more visual, driven partly by its preferred treatment in Facebook’s algorithms but also by user preferences. As it does, Instant Articles’advantages increase. Videos can be embedded in articles to autoplay. Maps and photos can be explored more interactively. And help is already here to create this visual content. Facebook has made Instant Articles available to mobile publishing platform Steller.
Everyone, including brands, can use Steller’s iOS mobile app for “telling your story with photos, video and text.” Voted Apple’s Best of 2014 app, it’s still free. Facebook has also arranged with WordPress to extend Instant Articles to anyone who runs a self-hosted WordPress site or pays for WordPress VIP using their new plugin.
The advantages for Facebook are clear. The faster more immersive experience of Instant Articles keeps users on Facebook, where they can see ads and connect with friends. The advantages for brands are that Instant Articles gives brands new ways to distribute branded content, connect with prospects, and convert them to buyers.
Organic reach for content on Facebook is hard to come by. Brands will likely continue to increase their Facebook ad spending to get their content in front of people, and features in the Instant Articles format makes that easier. For example, your content on Instant Articles can include widgets such as email newsletter signup forms.