Facebook recently announced the launch of «Instant Articles» making it clear that through its network of partners they intend to take further control of the media industry by leveraging their superior reach, user experience technology and financial muscles to drive media consumption.
For publishers this should add another wrinkle to an already worried brow: As with brands that threatened to kill off the «Social» aspect of Social Media were met with priced advertising solutions and close to 0% organic reach – so too will publishers’ stories become «hostage» to the sheer power of the Facebook distribution network over time. «Partners» will be selected on their ability to add to the Facebook treasury over time. «We designed Instant Articles to give publishers control over their stories, brand experience and monetization opportunities. Publishers can sell ads in their articles and keep the revenue, or they can choose to use Facebook’s Audience Network to monetize unsold inventory.» says the product release. Good news if your brand is Buzzfeed – less so if you are a niche publication dependent on acquiring your traffic through interest groups and monetize through sponsorships.
Has the US beast decided to simply improve it’s UX through innovative integration of rich media experiences across platforms. As most FB users access the site through mobile – so too has the need for an upgraded integration of the thousands of articles and stories that find their way into the «feed» been evident.
As we’ve mentioned in the past on this blog, internet usage has moved to a new phase. Content discovery has moved from portal, to search, to social. The next phase is already here (it’s mobile in case you were wondering) and the laggards in this process are traditional media houses. In a market that’s constantly being disrupted by faster, more personal and waaaaay more cost effective players the premises of innovation and development are being set by companies like Facebook et al.
Remember: Facebook is the world’s largest media portal – yet produces NO content.
Sprinkle believes that quality content is the beating heart of online growth. So, it’s smart to pay close attention to the changing media landscape as Facebook changes it’s delivery system. Ask yourself this: are you reliant on Facebook for traffic – or is Facebook reliant on your content to grow.