Right now, companies that wish to share their articles on Facebook do so by publishing links to where the article is posted on their website. However, a new feature called Facebook Instant Articles is set to allow people to post content directly to the social media network. This means that users interested in reading the article may, at some point, no longer need to click through to other websites.
According to Facebook, the primary goal of the new feature is to improve the reader’s mobile experience in the Facebook app by cutting down on load times and adding some more interactive features, such as photo zooming and animated maps.
We think the seamless, auto-play videos and audio captions are particularly cool.
Clearly, there is more for Facebook to gain than greater user experience by keeping its users on the network. Any website has a vested interest increasing the amount of time users spend on their site.
So with that in mind, what’s there to gain from brands by actually using the Instant Articles feature rather than just continuing to link to their site? Why would these brands want to take away one of their best opportunities for driving traffic to their websites?
If the Instant Articles feature is anything like LinkedIn’s Pulse feature, which allows users to publish articles directly to the social network, then it will likely give much greater visibility to articles published within Facebook than those that link to other websites. This means anyone who wants to increase the amount of people viewing their content would essentially have to use the feature. Of course, it’s not yet known if this is how the Instant Articles feature will operate.
One of the big names in media noted to be interested in testing the feature is The New York Times. The Times says it is interested in experimenting with new, different ways to grow its audience and its overall reach. However, it’s unlikely the Times, or any of the other partners in this new feature (such as Buzzfeed, National Geographic, BBC News and more) will put all of their content on Facebook.
We’ll be interested to see how this new feature impacts content marketing for companies of all types. In the meantime, check out Facebook’s overview of the new product and let us know what you think:
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