Back to News for Developers

Monetization: Year in Review

December 22, 2016ByBen Peskoe

Over the course of this year, we've seen strong growth in Instant Articles and we're excited about the progress we've made to make the program a valuable part of publishers' businesses. We've listened to partner feedback to evolve our product and policies to improve value for publishers, resulting in a number of updates over the past year.

Our goal is to support a full range of publisher business models - whether that focusing on advertising, branded content, or subscriptions. Here's a recap of changes we've made to help publishers generate more value from each Instant Article:

  • Automatic Ads Placement: We've made numerous changes this year to our Automatic Ads Placement feature to support more ad slots per page and higher yield. A great reading experience includes a great ads experience, and we look carefully at all ads-related product changes to make sure they do not negatively impact engagement metrics.
    • In November, we shipped a change that moves the first ad slot higher on the page and changes the way ads are placed at the bottom of the article. These changes had a net impact more ad slots per article on average — this effect was more pronounced for short articles (<300 words). This change applies to all publishers who use the automatic ads placement feature.
  • Direct sold campaigns: Publishers can seamlessly extend direct sold campaigns into Instant Articles using their existing ad server implementation, and keep 100% of the revenue.
    • Over the past year, we've introduced support for video, animated ads and a broader range of ad sizes, including custom units up to 2:3 aspect ratio.
    • As of October, Instant Articles supports multi-size units. The ad slot will resize around the ad based on the response from the publisher's ad server. Read more here.
  • Audience Network: Publishers can tap into demand from 4 million advertisers on Facebook, accessing high-value native ad formats and people-based targeting for relevant, engaging ads.
    • Over the past year, we've added new formats and objectives like video and carousel ads to drive more value for advertisers and publishers. We've also redesigned the Audience Network units so they fit more seamlessly in the Instant Articles experience
    • Going forward, we'll continue to work towards building out more formats and objectives that perform well in the Facebook News Feed.
  • Branded Content: Publishers can extend their branded content business to Instant Articles.
    • We've built support for branded content in Instant Articles to enable publishers to meet brand guidelines and sponsorship obligations, while giving readers the same great, engaging experience for both branded and editorial content.
    • We recently updated the article style editor so that publishers can visually distinguish their branded content from their editorial content. Read more here.
  • Native call-to-action in-line units: We've been testing CTAs to help publishers who monetize via subscriptions build relationships with new readers and drive acquisition down the subscriber funnel.
    • We're currently testing CTA's for email sign ups and Page likes. We've seen encouraging results so far, and we're working hard to roll this feature out to all publishers in the near future.

Additionally, we've made recent updates that help the discovery of Instant Articles:

  • Link Covers: We've been experimenting with the look and feel of link cover attachments in News Feed, and plan to continue that work into 2017.
  • Recirculation: We're excited to roll out horizontal scrolling in Instant Articles and we're working on a number of other improvements in this area. Read more here.

Going into next year, we'll continue listening to publisher feedback and iterating on our policies and products to help publishers generate more value from Instant Articles. Over the next few months, we're particularly excited about experimenting with new native ad formats, continued expansion of the CTA program, and more work on recirculation.

If you are interested in joining the Instant Articles program, you can learn more here.