Facebook Instant Articles and Adobe Analytics
by Bret Gundersen
posted on 04-12-2016
When Facebook and Google announced their intentions to create faster mobile experiences, we at Adobe applauded the move. When our publisher customers heard about Facebook’s plans many of them opted to join early adopter programs. Creating engaging content is what defines publishing, and the faster an article loads, the more users will engage with it. For publishers, engagement drives revenue, and any opportunity to increase the interest of an audience is an opportunity worth exploring.
These days, consumers have little patience; a recent study commissioned by Adobe showed that if digital content takes too long to load, seventy-eight percent of people switch or stop altogether; the difference between capturing a reader and losing them is determined in milliseconds. At the same time publishers want to understand how their readers engage and consume their content, so they can continue to improve the reading experience and deliver more personalized content across any screen and platform. That is our bread and butter.
Once Instant Articles are tagged, all of the rich information you expect from Adobe Analytics is available. For example, publishers can measure content velocity (articles viewed after this content), time spent per page and per visit, and percent of first time visitors. And because the Instant Articles framework leverages existing visitor identification methods, publishers can build all of the meaningful behavior-based segments they rely on, such as visitors who view more than five pages, visitors who spend more than five minutes with the content, or first time visitors who return within five hours.
Insight to Action for Publishers
Adobe Analytics is the award-winning analytics foundation of Adobe Marketing Cloud and the world’s largest enterprise marketing analytics solution, measuring nearly eight trillion server calls annually for over 150,000 marketers, business users and analysts including the world’s ten largest media companies and publishers. Forty-five percent of all server calls today come from mobile devices.
Adobe Analytics enables customers to create a holistic view of their business by turning customer interactions into actionable insights through advanced analysis capabilities and intuitive and interactive dashboards. It offers reports that users can sift, sort and share in real-time. A robust portfolio includes advanced predictive analytics and machine learning capabilities used by leading brands, including MTV Networks, NBC Universal, Discovery Communications, Comcast, AutoTrader, and thousands more.
Here’s an example of the types of information publishers can build in Analysis Workspace. I built this one in about 5 minutes.
What is Instant Articles?
If you’re new to the Instant Articles concept, think of Instant Articles as a version of HTML that causes content to load roughly 10 times faster than normal web pages, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. Instant Articles isn’t just about delivering a fast experience — it also extends the possibilities for interactive articles on mobile phones with new features like autoplay video, audio captions, and interactive maps using simple HTML5 tags. HTML5 provides an expressive format for specifying all the necessary information to lay out an Instant Article, and it allows publishers to reuse the code from their websites. This format also provides support for third-party content, including social media embeds, ads, and analytics — all of which can be embedded in Instant Articles just like they are on the web.
How much effort will this require?
From a practical perspective, many of you are wondering how much time you need to spend implementing measurement for Instant Articles. As Trevor Paulsen points out in his blog post, there are a few things to consider when choosing how to implement Google AMP. Since Facebook’s Instant Articles operate only within views on the Facebook app, the set of considerations is even tighter. It’s probably safe to compare your implementation of Facebook Instant Articles to tagging a redesigned section of your web site: there are some new elements to capture, and a few changes to how the code is set up, but overall, you are re-using most of what you have everywhere else. And if you’ve already begun using the iframe solution in Google AMP, it sets you up nicely for Facebook’s Instant Articles; Adobe Analytics is the only solution in the market to have a single setup for both. In short, the time requirement should be minimal, especially given the promised value of improved audience engagement.