Last year Facebook opened its Instant Articles feature for all publishers, Instant Articles for the publishers is like a double-edged sword. Although it’s a great feature that allows articles to load quickly and easily on Facebook’s mobile app, it doesn’t direct readers to publishers’ websites. This means publishers’ websites don’t get web-traffic, and they don’t get the chance to encourage readers to subscribe to their publication. In other words, Instant Articles prevents publishers from making money. but that was very much read-only and because of which, publishers didn’t really have a native way of converting readers into something more, like subscribers.
Similar to Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages project, using Instant Articles publishers can accommodate their content to the mobile screen. It was observed that people consume lot of articles and stories during the day where a major friction point is having a site that’s not mobile-optimized — and we all know the ones where we have to pinch-to-zoom just to read the stories. But unlike Google, Instant Articles is applicable mainly for content shared and found on the world’s largest social network.
Publishers have been pushing for direct lines of communication with their readers, in order to add more value to their businesses on Facebook, and so, to solve this problem and to take its relationship with the publishers a step further, Facebook has now integrated CTA units in the instant articles.
Publishers now have at least two CTA items they can choose from, including signing up for email and liking their Facebook page, but there are others in the works.
The email sign up CTA will be flexible, and businesses can choose to craft messages as per their communication strategy, and readers can sign up for newsletters by sharing their email address. Page Like CTA ensures a reader receives updates and future posts from a given business if they find valuable content.
“We recognize that publisher business models are diverse, and we’re continuing to collaborate with the industry to identify and develop new call-to-action units to deepen relationships and form new connections between people and publishers,” explained product manager Josh Roberts in the blog post.
The results during the beta testing were really impressive and some of the partners to this test have also shared their results.
“We currently use the Email call-to-action unit for Instant Articles to drive signups for our daily newsletter list. Over the past two months, the CTA has accounted for 41% of our total list growth. That is a meaningful number and we’re looking forward to partnering with Facebook to continue to grow the program from here.”
Chris Schieffer, Senior Product Manager at Slate
“Facebook Instant Articles is now one of our highest performing acquisition channels for driving email newsletter subscribers. Over the last three months, Instant Articles CTA’s generated 29% of the HuffPost Morning Email signups. We also found that signups acquired via Instant Articles are just as likely to stick around as signups obtained from our own sites. We’re excited to work with Facebook to figure out how to drive other actions that help us build deeper relationships with readers, like mobile app downloads.”
Mark Silverstein, Head of Business Development at The Huffington Post
Facebook teased about what the publishers could add to the existing CTA in the future, like free trial or mobile app install call-to-action units.
Testing Free Trial call-to-action unit: Quick and easy way for people to sign up for a free trial to a publisher’s digital subscription through Instant Articles with a small group of publishers.
Testing Mobile App Install call-to-action unit: Many partners have asked for a way to drive adoption for their mobile apps. So, Facebook has officially launched an alpha test of a new Mobile App Install call-to-action unit with a handful of partners.
“We are continuing to collaborate with our partners to drive value through call-to-action units in Instant Articles. We’re grateful for the participation and partnership to date, and we look forward to identifying additional opportunities to drive deeper engagement and build relationships between publishers and their readers on Facebook.” Josh Roberts, Facebook Product Manager signs off.