Bletch. I don’t know about you, but one of the things I despise about social media and the web in general is the massive proliferation of ads out there. I understand that publishers have to make money and ads are the only way to do that. But it doesn’t ease the pain of trying to read an article or a post laden heavily with ads to the point of slowing it down or freezing it altogether. Just my daily whining rant. I hate ads.
Facebook in 2015 started running Instant Articles from what they deemed as reputable newspapers. None of the rest of us call them that, but Facebook has sided with the leftist media and that is one of the perks of being on the liberal side of things. Unfortunately, it is not working out quite the way they envisioned it. The New York Times dropped Instant Articles last month along with one other major media outlet. It just wasn’t paying off for them. Bummer for Facebook.
Facebook has failed to keep the two of the most reputable newspapers on board with Instant Articles, the publishing platform where articles are uploaded directly to the social network.
But Facebook is not giving up. On Thursday, the social network added more ad placements in Instant Articles. Any publisher can now insert ads in the related articles section, located at the bottom of the page.
The format, which was running as a beta test since March, is another way Facebook is hoping to drive more revenue to publishers, while putting a bit more money into Facebook’s own pocket. The test partners have seen an “incremental increase” in average revenue per 1,000 page views, according to a blog post from Facebook.
When Facebook introduced Instant Articles in May 2015, it preached a better reading experience for users. The new feature boasted a super-fast experience for users. Publishing partners could take advantage of Facebook’s own rich-media tools.
Facebook began running ads at the bottom of Instant Articles this week hoping to boost revenue for both publishers and themselves. This is a desperate move to hang on to publishers with increased ad payouts. At the launch of the Instant Articles feature in 2015, media outlets could keep 100 percent of the revenue if they sold the ads themselves and 70 percent if Facebook sold them. The articles didn’t have much in the way of ads, but Facebook promised things would get better. Unfortunately, they didn’t. That’s why the New York Times dropped it, but they remained a devoted partner of Facebook nonetheless. Facebook is hoping the new insertable ads will draw them back to the service.
Facebook now has more than 10,000 publishers using the system, growing more than 25 percent over the last six months. It pays out more than $1 million per day to publishers via Facebook Audience Network, the social network’s own ad network. But this doesn’t include real news from news outlets and blogs. Only those that Facebook defines as legitimate news sources. I consider that censorship and it would not draw me in as a reader, much less clicking on their ads.
Facebook has now created the Facebook Journalism Project in January and has been on a listening tour for the last six months, hearing publishers’ complaints. Gee, I wish they’d listen to people that are actually on Facebook daily that much. But I digress. Instant Articles is being viewed as a monetization failure by most publishers, but Facebook is not giving up on it. They are also promoting other tools within Instant Articles. Publishers can build “call-to-action” units, where they can encourage newsletter sign-ups or Facebook Page likes. Something tells me this isn’t going to work and their approach is all wrong. But hey… they didn’t ask me.