Facebook’s Instant Article could be on the verge of resurrection as it launched a new tool for publishers. This new tool helps publishers in getting subscribers to their articles. The publishers will now be allowed to set up a Paywall on their Facebook pages, allowing users to get access to Instant Articles right inside the platform. There will be no need for the publishers to drive users to their websites now. Facebook thanks that this could finally save their revenue. The industry has given mixed responses to the new tool.
To Use or Not To Use
The biggest problem with Facebook’s Instant Articles, introduced last year, lies in the fact that it doesn’t allow a sufficient revenue stream. Publishers like Hearst, who have pulled out of the program, found that it was not more viable to continue for lower revenues. They could get higher engagement on their websites and earn better revenues too. While the program isn’t a bad offering from Facebook, monetization has been a big hurdle in 2017. This in contrast to a strong 2016 that saw Facebook’s impressive performance leap.
Many traditional publishers are now looking for ways to make their content digital and ready for a vast audience ready to pay to read news online. This is one of the biggest challenges that Instant Articles had to face. Now that Facebook has announced the Paywall system, will the monetization improve?
It is difficult to assess as of now. It is true that the revenue generated directly on website is better than the revenue generated on Facebook. Moreover, publishers will have to trade-off traffic from their website to Facebook Instant Articles. Facebook will have to bring better monetization to the publishers to gain traction. The monetization efforts have to match the website to make the publishers stay. Note that many of them are already thinking about pulling out of the program because of drop in traffic.
Facebook’s Point of View
Campbell Brown, news partnership head at Facebook, said that he Paywall will bring more users to the publishers within the social network. The company suggests that Instant Articles get 30 to 50 percent better responses and engagements than the rest of the content. It says that it doesn’t manipulate the content algorithm but suggests that Instant Articles get noticed more often in the news feeds.
Facebook will start testing the new tool with a handful of publishers in October. It will start rolling out the tool to others in early 2018. However, it is still unclear if publishers are prepared to participate in this testing period.