Instant Ads (Not Articles) Could Be Facebook's Next Big Mobile Money-Maker | Techno stream

Instant Ads (Not Articles) Could Be Facebook’s Next Big Mobile Money-Maker

20 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Focuses on Emerging Markets for New Products.

Speaking at WSJDLive, The Wall Street Journal’s global technology conference, Facebook product chief Chris Cox said the company’s road map is shaped by how Facebook is used in countries such as Indonesia, India, Thailand and Myanmar, places where the service is popular but connections are often poor.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Facebook has rolled out an expansion of its Instant Articles project which offers faster-loading pages to media companies who agree to publish directly to the social network.Five months after introducing its fast-loading instant articles into the News Feed, Facebook is now rolling out the format to all iPhone users, the company said today. Facebook will offer about 1,000 of these fast-loading articles a day on the site, each identified with a lightning bolt icon within the Facebook news feed, he said.

But the social networking company hasn’t forgotten about Android users; it said that later this year, Instant Articles will be available for that mobile operating system (it’s already in public beta). Facebook says Instant Articles load 10 times faster than standard articles on mobile phones, particularly important in developing countries. “If you look at a Facebook user in Myanmar today, they can wait 40 seconds to a minute to look at what’s happening in Rangoon today,” Mr. In its pitch to publishers to join Instant Articles, Facebook tells them they can either keep the ad revenue, or have Facebook sell them for a revenue split. Cox said. “If we can lower that barrier, if we can lower that friction, it’s a huge service.” Publishers join the program hoping to gain readers, especially on mobile devices, with the faster load times.

At the time, Facebook product manager Michael Reckhow wrote: “Along with a faster experience, Instant Articles introduces a suite of interactive features that allow publishers to bring their stories to life in new ways.” The concept centered on the fact that if publishers had their content right in the app, it could increase exposure, thereby helping people find what’s going on in the world that much faster. Facebook is also adding new partners to the instant article program, including Vox Media (parent of The Verge), Slate, The Huffington Post, and The Daily Mail. Those who are expected to use Instant Articles in the coming months include: Billboard, Bleacher Report, Business Insider, Bustle, CBS News, CBS Sports, CNET, Mashable, Mental Floss, The Onion, TIME, USA Today, Variety, The Verge and The Weather Channel. At first Facebook called them “Immersive ads” and then the “ads canvas”, but really, they’re the paid promotional equivalent to its hosted organic initiative Instant Articles. Publishers can track data and traffic through comScore, Adobe ADBE -1.89 % Analytics and Google Analytics, Facebook said in a news release on Tuesday.

Publishers that are participating right now include The New York Times, National Geographic, NBC News, The Atlantic, The Guardian, MTV, BBC News, The Washington Post, and others. Publishers’ interest reflects the enormous percentage of traffic that Facebook drives to their properties — and their fears over being left out if the faster-loading stories soon crowd out the regular old URLs that have been their lifeblood for the past several years. More than 80% of Facebook’s users are outside of the U.S. and Canada, and the company has taken a series of steps in recent years to shore up connectivity in its fastest-growing markets. Essentially, Instant Ads are in-feed Facebook mobile ads that when tapped, immediately unfold a rich media marketing experience within Facebook’s app rather than forcing people to wait for a mobile browser page to load.

Additional partners will be added in the future including Brit + Co., CNET, Refinery 29, CBS News, Entertainment Weekly, NBA, Rolling Stone, MLB, Good Housekeeping, and a host of others. The social network recently renamed the app “Free Basics,” after critics said it favors Facebook properties at the expense of others, violating the concept of “net neutrality.” Mr. Instead of penalizing users for opening ads by interrupting their social experience with a slow-loading mobile website, Facebook pre-caches the marketer’s content so it appears immediately when users tap. I could tilt my phone to scan across its mayo-laced bun, swipe through photos of onions and pickles, and watch an animation of someone drawing with ketchup.

While they load faster than normal articles in part by stripping out advertising and tracking code that runs on many web pages, they also can include various custom visual elements, including 3D maps and photos that can be browsed by tilting your phone. Instant Ads epitomize Facebook’s ad strategy, which is about making the result of online marketing some kind action taken or emotional impact, rather than a short-lived click to a website.

Facebook now has Buy buttons that let you purchase products you see within feed ads with your credit card on file so you never visit a merchant’s site. Instant Articles pose a serious risk to news and content publishers who lose the relationship with their audience that leads to loyal readership and subscriptions. But for the user, a Facebook where you can see friends, read news, watch videos, and even experience ads without enduring crappy mobile load times sounds like more fun.

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