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Facebook recently launched Instant Articles, and the dial within the online marketing community has been pushed up to 11.

Facebook Instant Articles are blog posts, reports or any other form of text medium that are hosted directly on Facebook (not a website). Instant Articles provide greater functionality for Facebook users, they needn’t wait for articles to load and are highly interactive on mobile devices.

With the introduction of Facebook Instant Articles, many questions are being asked. Are website going to become obsolete? Is it wise to leverage Instant Articles? What does this mean for marketers?

How much web traffic does Facebook generate?

A Conductor report concluded 64% of all website traffic is from organic search, with social media only making up 2% of entire web traffic.

Facebook trafficSource: Conductor

Already it seems much wiser to create content on your own website than on Facebook.

If you decide to host content on Instant Articles over your website, you will not gain any inbound links each article generates. Why does this matter? Inbound links are a key factor in deciding where your website ranks in Google. The more inbound links your website has, the more organic traffic you will generate.

By utilizing Facebook Instant Articles, you will be trading in these links for the chance of reaching more Facebook fans, and less via organic methods. Which seems like a bad idea giving social media only accounts for 2% of overall traffic.

The pros of using Instant Articles

Mobile friendly – Instant Articles have been a huge hit with mobile Facebook users who seem to love the interaction aspect:

Facebook Instant Articles

 

Easier monetization – The biggest struggle publishers face is monetizing their mobile content. The lion’s share of Internet traffic comes from mobile devices, and Facebook knows better than anyone on how to sell mobile ads.

Centralize content distribution – Facebook has over a billion users. Whereas before you would need to post on several social media platforms, implement SEO, paid search marketing, email marketing and all the rest, Facebook’s audience is big enough to ignore all other methods.

Using Instant Articles bypasses the need to use several mediums.

The cons of using Instant Articles

Loss of power – Whenever you make a deal with Facebook, the ball is in their court. You own your website, your blog, your articles, but once you post it on Instant Articles, it becomes theirs. It becomes harder to predict the growth of your business and drive revenue.

Remember, it’s not just articles you’re giving up, but your audience too.

You cannot measure data– Google Analytics doesn’t work with Instant Articles, so you’ll be working with less data when making business decisions. Marketing strategies will be more difficult to implement, and you may even be handcuffed to using only Facebook as a direct consequence.

Cloudy future – Facebook has been known to change the rules for businesses. Early in 2015, they reduced organic reach for promotional content, and stated businesses now had to pay to promote.

At this moment in time Instant Articles is free, but what’s stopping them from changing this in the future?

Priority of content – Search engines rank content based on user experience and value, this ensures the best content reaches the top. Facebook doesn’t guarantee it will treat all content equally, meaning it can push publishers who generate more revenue higher up in newsfeeds.

SME and startups could find it hard to expand and growth in this type of environment.

Audience will stay on Facebook – One of the goals of creating content is to drive traffic to your website. That’s all gone with Instant Articles, once your content has been consumed, the user will most likely go back to Facebook and read other Instant Articles or go back to scrolling their newsfeed.

My thoughts

There’s no question Facebook marketing is a powerhouse when it comes to growing your business. But not everything it does is best for businesses. This isn’t the first time they have tried to cut out websites to drive revenue. Their attempt at selling gifts came to a crashing halt when things didn’t go as planned.

As with anything in life, the more control you have over something, the greater chance you have of making correct decisions. Keeping full control of content is critical to ensuring long-term growth and remaining sustainable.

Will you be using Instant Articles?

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