A publisher’s guide to Facebook Instant Articles & Header Bidding

A publisher’s guide to Facebook Instant Articles & Header Bidding

Facebook Instant Articles offers a unique way for website publishers to make use of fast page load speeds, increased social sharing and decreased page abandonment on mobile. You might be considering signing up or implementing FIA (Facebook Instant Articles) within your publisher model, but the question remains: Is Facebook Instant Articles compatible with my ad stack and header bidding?

Without wasting your time, we can confirm that unfortunately, FIA does not allow header bidding. However, within this article, we’ll cover the ins and outs of FIA, show you how to implement it, help you understand why it doesn’t work with header bidding and talk about the pros and cons of the platform.

What is Facebook Instant Articles & How Do I Set It Up?

Facebook Instant Articles is a product launched by Facebook a few years ago that allows publishers to utilize their platform for content publishing. When doing so, publishers can benefit from 10 times faster than average mobile page loading times, 70% lower bounce rates and a general 30% increase in social shares. The platform also allows publishers to monetize their content with either their ads or using Facebook’s audience network.

The industry calls it a native publishing platform as it draws users from their Facebook feed and directs them to the page within the Facebook platform instead of the website’s page with the focus on the mobile web. Find out how to get started with FIA here.

Header Bidding and Facebook Instant Articles

If you were hoping to use header bidding with FIA, you’re out of luck. Facebook Instant Articles only allows ad fill that is directly sold or goes through the Facebook Audience Network (FAN). This means that the following is prohibited:

  • Header Bidding
  • Managed demand
  • Programmatic direct
  • Programmatic guaranteed

Here’s a quote from the Facebook Instant Articles Ad Sales and Serving section:

“Direct ads must either be directly hosted in your ad server or directly call the advertiser, returning a creative file in response to all requests (i.e., no programmatic transactions).”

Find  more details here: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/instant-articles/policy

Pros and cons of using Facebook Instant Articles as a publisher

If you still plan on using FIA, Nichemarket.co.za have identified a few significant pros and cons that come with utilizing the platform. Here are some of the most relevant ones:

Pros

  • Blazing fast page speed: Facebook using advanced technology to load your content page at super fast load times.
  • It is possible to monetize your content within the platform: Keep in mind that your options are somewhat limited here to direct sold and FAN.
  • High engagement: Reports indicate that FIA page receives 30% more shares and 70% lower bounce rates than standard mobile pages.
  • Page editing & branding: The platform allows publishers to edit and customize their user’s experience by adding logos, changing colors and more.
  • Integrate third-party tools: Publishers can integrate tools such as Google Analytics to track performance and analyze their data.

Cons

  • Limited monetization: Ad monetization techniques such as header bidding, managed demand and programmatic direct is not allowed which limits the publisher’s monetization opportunities.
  • Only optimized for mobile: FIA is an amazing platform, and mobile is essential right now in the online world. However, it is exclusively developed for mobile, and there’s still a big part of the internet population browsing via their desktops.
  • Referral traffic and platform reliance: It’s great for publishers to have content on FIA within the Facebook ecosystem while benefiting from edgerank and its vast audience. However, becoming so dependent on a third party platform that you do not control is very risky. Also, since Facebook Instant Articles provides a fantastic and fast user experience what would this mean for referral traffic? The chances are that after visiting your FIA article, a visitor won’t necessarily go to your website.
  • Complicated set up for some: To get Facebook Instant Articles you will need some technical knowledge and possibly to a bit of research.

In conclusion

If you have any questions or concerns with regards to the use of Facebook Instant Articles or would like to find out how we can optimize your ad stack, you can sign up for a free consultation today!

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Kean Graham

CEO and Founder at MonetizeMore

Kean is the resident expert in Ad Optimization covering areas like Adsense Optimization, DFP Management, and third-party ad network partnerships. Kean believes in the supremacy of direct publisher deals and holistic optimization as keys to effective and consistent ad revenue increases.

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