Jun 8, 2017

Facebook expands revenue opportunities in Instant Articles

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Facebook announced Thursday it's opening ad units within the related articles section at the bottom of Instant Articles to all publishers, something they've been testing as part of the Facebook Journalism Project. The update comes in response to publisher feedback that ads in related articles are an important revenue-driver on mobile web.

Why it matters: Facebook is trying to provide publishers a way to better monetize Instant Articles in wake of reports of increased publisher backlash over the effectiveness and revenue potential of the feature. Some publishers have reported that Apple News and Google AMP are driving great results and more publisher-friendly partnerships.

What publishers are saying:

  • "Along with the added traffic lift we've seen from Instant Articles (versus mobile web), we're excited by this upward trend in overall revenue," says Noah Szubski, Chief Product Officer at DailyMail.com.
  • "The Atlantic has been on IA since the beginning, when we were an Alpha partner in 2015. While Facebook has been addressing our concerns from that time, my biggest concern has been that there hasn't been enough urgency. We've made some good progress in the past 6 months," says Kim Lau, SVP Digital and Head of Business Development at The Atlantic.

By the numbers:

  • Facebook now has over 10,000 publishers around the world using Instant Articles, a 25% growth in the last six months
  • More than 1/3 of all clicks to articles on Facebook are now to Instant Articles.
  • Instant Articles now pay out more than $1 million per day to publishers via Facebook Audience Network.
  • In the last 6 months alone, RPM, or revenue per 1,000 page views, that publishers see from Facebook Audience Network in Instant Articles has increased by over 50%.
  • In aggregate, Instant Articles delivers between 20 - 50% more traffic, compared to mobile web content.

Their updates follow a series of steps the tech giant has taken to make Instant Articles a better experience for users and publishers:

  • April 7: It added call-to-action buttons, such as an email sign-up button and a page "like" button, that help publishers develop deeper relationships with their readers through Instant Articles.
  • May 25: It announced it would allow publishers to convert Instant Articles for other formats, to better serve their cross-platform needs.
  • Mar 9: It announced adding flexibility in ad placements.
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