On April 12 this year Facebook will roll out Instant Articles to all users.
Great. That’s exciting. What on earth does it mean?
At Noodle Live we spend our days developing mobile event apps and RFID technology for #EventProfs, but we also keep an eye on the digital world and any big developments that could impact our industry. We think this could be one of them.
So how could the upcoming changes could effect the events industry?
What are Instant Articles?
Instant Articles allow you to upload longer form content and blogs directly to Facebook instead of posting a link that directs people to an external website such as your company blog.
Facebook Instant Articles were originally launched in 2015 (back in the day when we were creating mobile event apps – oh wait, we still do that). Initially only 9 selected publishers were given access to the service: The New York Times, BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, BBC News, National Geographic and NBC.
Hosting content directly on Facebook means faster loading times when someone clicks on your link. Having tested the concept, Facebook are now ready to roll the scheme out to all users. As of April 12, you will have the ability to opt in.
Instant Articles feature rich media options, so videos will play instantly, bringing the article to life. You can also add audio or animated maps. You can customise the typeface, colour and layout to create a look and feel that matches your brand.
For more information on Instant Articles watch Facebook’s video.
Why does Facebook need Instant Articles?
Facebook has been struggling with the logistics of sharing content on their platform for years. When using Facebook on a mobile device (around 47% of visitors access the platform from their phone) loading content causes delays. If a friend posts a link you want to view, it can take more than a minute for the content to load, which is plain annoying. This lag time causes many users give up before reading or viewing the content, which means the publishers lose valuable audience members.
What does this mean for #EventProfs?
It still remains to be seen whether Facebook publishing will become more popular than blog publishing, but it’s a huge move for the social network and a smart one too. It means that users will be spending more time on Facebook (rather than leaving the site to view content) which will increase their ability to make revenue from advertising.
At this point the jury are still out as to how important this move will be for digital marketing as a whole. Our advice to #EventProfs is to consider opting in to Facebook Instant Articles as soon as possible. Not only will it create a smoother experience for your audience and get more people reading your content, but it will also ensure that you’re ahead of the curve if Instant Articles fulfill their potential and become a major avenue for content marketing.
What do I need to do?
1. Opt in to Instant Articles after April 12. Facebook will give you the option on your business page. Make sure you agree to take part.
2. Consider making some changes to your Facebook page. It’s possible that you will be getting a lot more traffic to your Facebook page and less to your business website, so make sure that all of the details (including contact details) are up to date and that you have all of your upcoming events listed. Consider adding more details about previous work, who you are and what your company stands for – anything that you think is important for potential clients and customers. At Noodle Live for example, we’re making sure our customers can find everything they need to understand our mobile event apps directly from our Facebook page.
3. Start coming up with great content to post on Facebook. Think about your target market and audience members and ask yourself what they’re interested in. What would they want to read or learn more about? Create content they will enjoy and think about adding video or great photographs to bring it to life.
Can I use Instant Articles to promote my events?
Around one billion people visit Facebook every day. Many of them will spend time browsing their news feed and reading articles posted by their friends or the publishers they follow.
Content marketing is an essential promotional tool for #EventProfs and Instant Articles will allow you to use the great content you’re creating to reach all of those millions of people on Facebook more easily. Try creating great articles on topics that your audience would be interested in. For example, if you’re staging a music event, see if you can get an interview with the band or some behind the scenes footage. People who love the band will share your content with their friends on Facebook, letting them know about your event at the same time. Everyone wins!
Instant Articles also include some features that could be very useful for #EventProfs. The animated maps feature allows you to add details of where your events are taking place with detailed photos of the venue and travel suggestions. Instant play video also allows you to add beautiful moving images that will tell the story of your event in rich detail.
Well, yes, of course. There are always two sides to every story. Some publishers have already spoken out about the fact that this move could make Facebook their primary source of traffic and may reduce the numbers of people visiting their actual business website. That’s a big change in the way people use the web and it gives social media even more power in the online world.
Did somebody say monopoly?
In fact, if Instant Articles really take off, Facebook has a chance of increasing their share of internet traffic substantially and seriously detracting from Google’s strong hold on bringing us our content. That’s a pretty huge shift in the way we use the internet.
At Noodle Live we specialise in creating bespoke mobile event apps and supplying event technology for #EventProfs. Interested in finding out more about what we could do for your event? We offer free Event Tech Workshops to help you to get to gribs with what we offer and navigate the tech jungle with ease.