FB Instant Articles will let publishers keep ad revenue


Facebook is trying to woo publishers to let them host the news content locally in order to keep users engage — and they’re willing to pay for it.


The current setup is that news publishers can post links on Facebook directing users to their content, something that’s worked very well for them since a great part of their traffic comes from social media. However, Facebook found out it’s not working terribly well for them. Apparently, opening the links and waiting for it to redirect to the news sites which host the content counts for extra seconds that put off some users, and most importantly, get their attention off of Facebook.


To attract publishers, Facebook has decided to go against its usual revenue-sharing model. It offered to allow the publishers to keep any and all revenue that might be generated from ads that are going to be associated with their hosted content. Another version of the offer has Facebook keeping 30% of the revenue when ads are sold.


Facebook is still in talks with National Geographic and New York Times, among others, to launch the Instant Articles feature so there’s no timeframe yet of when this is going to be implemented.


Letting go of some percentage of the revenue is going to pay off big time because directly hosting news content will load it faster. And everyone knows the faster anything loads, the happier the users will be, making them likely to stay longer. Moreover, Facebook does not have to worry that users will shift their attention to other sites as there won’t be any need to go out of the site to read news.


In the past, publishers have already been miffed with Facebook’s algorithm change in users’ news feeds, arguing that the changes resulted in referral traffic drop. So even if the deal sounds good, other publishers are understandably wary of joining in especially when it’s still not clear what aspects they would have control over, if at all. Also, they would want to get their hands on reader data for various reasons so it’s going to get dicey considering Facebook’s privacy policy. One of the officials in talk with Facebook is asserting that as publishers, they still like to “defend other aspects of the business”.


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