What Facebook Instant Articles Mean for Your Business

A war among giants. That’s what happening right now in Silicon Valley. It’s a war over advertising dollars, attention spans and the devices at our fingertips, and the combatants want your business to join the fight.

This month, Facebook announced that their much-acclaimed Instant Articles feature—a quick-loading news content platform that debuted in 2015 with help from The New York Times, National Geographic, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed and several other major online news outlets—is opening up to everyone on April 12. Anyone with a Facebook page and a website will be able to use the service.

That means you.

That means your grandma.

That means your niece—except, she doesn’t get on Facebook because you and grandma are already there talking about politics and sharing dinner recipes.

So what are Instant Articles and how can you take advantage of them?

“An Instant Article is an HTML5 document optimized for fast mobile performance, rich storytelling capabilities, branded design and customized visual display.” – Facebook

Right. What that really means is that Instant Articles are a version of a story that’s stored on Facebook’s own servers, rather than your website. Because of this, they load exponentially faster on mobile deices. For a company like FTR, that means we can deliver content more quickly to fans browsing Facebook. For you, it means you can write a blog post about how well fishing is going in your part of the world, and tell people what baits and techniques to use on your local waters.

Instant Articles are one more way to reach potential customers.

Yes, you lose traffic to your website, and if you’ve got advertisers there, you might be worried. But Facebook is offering advertising solutions to help bring those partners over to Instant Articles as well. Wouldn’t an ad from a lure manufacturer look good on your store’s article about Top 5 Pre-Spawn Baits in the Wooley Swamp? (Don’t go at night.)

The end game

Why is Facebook doing this? They want users to spend even more time on their website. The California-based social media empire has long stated that they want to be the primary news source for their users. That’s why your newsfeed is all jacked-up with local news and clutter. That’s partially why younger users loathe the once-hip social media platform, and it’s why older users (with more disposable income) are still highly engaged there.

The end game for Facebook is to make money off of you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t leverage their platform and its popularity with baby boomers and Gen-Xers to return the favor for a while. Starting April 12, you’ll have one more way to do that. It’s up to you to take advantage of it.

And while you’re at it, upgrade that ancient website!