In her 2017 Internet Trends report, Mary Meeker reported that time spent using the Internet on mobile rose again in 2016 to 3.1 hours per day, up from 2.8 hours per day in 2015. Internet usage on PCs, in contrast, was flat at 2.2 hours per day. Meanwhile, Facebook and Google continue to be the top referrers to publishers, and increasingly consumers’ feeds are the main place media is discovered. With products like Facebook Instant Articles and Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages, both made generally available last year, the feed is becoming the place where media is actually consumed.
For publishers, getting your mobile strategy right has never been more important — particularly on Facebook, which now has nearly 2 billion users. Facebook, however, is eager to keep users within its walled garden and has devoted armies of engineers to build the most compelling feed in technology. That feed needs content, and publishers have looked to leverage Facebook’s massive scale to boost readership, subscriptions, and traffic back to their sites.
Both Facebook’s Instant Articles and Google’s AMP offer ways for publishers to form one-on-one relationships with consumers. For publishers wracked by layoffs and falling revenues, this means broad exposure and easier ways to form a direct connection to readers. The approach hasn’t worked for all publishers — a number have dropped out of Facebook’s program following disappointments. But other publishers have found some promising tactics for expanding their readership using Instant Articles:
1. Teasing content. German news tabloid Bild has used IA as a means to tease free content and boost subscriptions. In January, the publisher began using IA ad spots to promote Bild Plus, a premium version of the title that costs $10.58 a month. Bild started out putting just 20 percent of its free content on IA but now puts all of it there as a funnel for Bild Plus subscriptions. Similarly, advertisers can use Canvas – sort of an IA for advertisers – to tease content that users will have to go off Facebook to see. They can link to…
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