Facebook Instant Articles vs. Google AMP

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Facebook Instant Articles vs. Google AMP

Over the past 5 years, mobile internet has changed the way we access content. It is now the leading mode of internet access and has overtaken desktop in a way that many wouldn’t have thought possible a decade ago.

As the mobile web evolves, ways of presenting content do, too. One of the biggest issues that internet publishers face now are slow page load speeds. The more time it takes for content to load on mobile devices, the more likely the reader is to bounce, and the less favourably Google looks upon you in terms of SEO.

Both Google and Facebook have come up with solutions to improve the experience for both publishers and readers. But which one comes out on top? Today, we are going to take a closer look at Facebook instant articles (FIA) and Google accelerated mobile pages (AMP) and compare the two together.

 

A brief summary of Amp and FIA

It was 3 years ago, back in 2015, that both Google and Facebook introduced platforms to tackle issues that reduced the user experience for publishers and readers.

Both of them aim to reduce data consumption while increasing the page load speed of online content. This is especially noticeable when it comes to static content such as images and text.

While there is no denying that both offer a similar experience. There are some major differences between the two.

Facebook Instant articles. These are designed to work inside of the Facebook mobile app. It allows users to publish their content directly in the Facebook news feed instead of using outbound links to their website.

By working in this way, it removes the need for readers to leave the social media site. Articles are hosted on Facebook and load up to 10 times faster than a standard mobile web page. Publishers are able to monetise the content that they publish via instant articles.

Publishers also have the ability to customise the branding of their content. This helps businesses and publishers create a recognisable identity for their audience.

Google AMP. This works slightly differently to Facebook instant articles. While Facebook instant articles are only able to be viewed via the Facebook app, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) work in your mobile web browser.

This keeps things familiar. In effect, Google has optimised the entire browsing experience. The only distinguishing feature is that AMP is presented at the top of the SERPs as a carousel.

Both thumbnail images and logos help Google AMP stand out. Which serves to make the optimised content easy to locate and view.

 

How do Facebook instant articles and Google AMP work?

Facebook presents content as HTML5. It uses the same technology found throughout the social media platform to help increase the loading speed of photos and videos.

Facebook claims that instant articles tend to be shared 30% more than traditional mobile web articles. Readers are 70% less likely to abandon the content and it loads up to 10 times more quickly than mobile web-based content.

Google AMP works by eliminating slow loading HTML and JavaScript. It begins to pre-render and cache content before you even open an article. The best way to think of it is like stripped-down HTML. They take the fancy bits out, simplifies it, which makes it faster to load.

Pre-loading content is not a new thing. But Google has amped things up and taken it to the next level. This results in as much as 10 times last data being used while loading content up to four times as fast.

 

Comparing FIA and AMP

While both programs have been created to improve page load speed and user enjoyment, they both still require the publisher to invest a certain amount of time and effort.

So, to help you decide which program is best suited to your business needs let’s take a closer look at ad revenue, ease of use and the potential reach that both platforms offer.

 

Ad Revenue

Facebook presents users with two different options for monetising their content. The first is for those who serve and sell their own efforts. These publishers hold on to 100% of the revenue that is generated by their instant article ads.

The second option that Facebook offers is to place Facebook ads on their instant articles. This earns the publisher approximately 70% of the ad revenue with Facebook lapping up the remaining 30%.

While both of these options are a great way of generating revenue from your content, Facebook does limit the number of ads that can be placed on published content at any given time.

Google AMP is not a business partnership but more of an open-source initiative. Facebook tries to keep users within their app while Google is aiming to change how publishers build and present pages for the mobile web so it’s a better experience for the user.

Publishers using Google AMP earn revenue via AdSense and AdX demand. The amount of income generated depends on the type of ad shown to the user and the ad network used. There are now more than 100 different ad networks that support AMP. This means that you have plenty of options available at your disposal.

 

Ease of use

Facebook allows publishers to manage their instant articles content via their existing CMS. This means that all of their website content can be syndicated with Facebook instant articles by simply flipping a switch.

The simplicity of the program is definitely one of its biggest selling points. There is no need to modify your current website content in any way whatsoever. It basically uses an RSS feed to publish content automatically to Facebook instant articles. Gone are the days of manually publishing content on your page.

Google is not quite as user-friendly. By disallowing JavaScript and iframes, publishers basically need to recreate the content again removing these types of tech.

JavaScript and iframes are the foundations of the majority of modern websites. Having to create parallel content drastically increases the number of resources and effort that the publisher needs to invest.

While this may seem like a negative, it is clearly having little impact on AMPs popularity which currently far outranks Facebook when it comes to providing external traffic to publishers websites.

 

Platform reach

When it comes to reach, both Facebook and Google are on a pretty level playing field. It is estimated that approximately 20% of all time spent on the internet is spent on Facebook.

Google serves almost 4 billion searches each and every day and is the largest search engine in the world. It is clear that the sheer volume of the audiences that both cater to is significant.

The best way to work out which platform is best for you is to look at how your current audience accesses your content. Is the majority of your content found via social shares or through organic searches? This is one of the best ways to work out which is your best choice.

It is also important to note that there is nothing stopping you from publishing via both of them. Of course, this will increase the amount of time and resources you need to invest. However, it will give you the best of both worlds.

 

Conclusion

It is no secret that Facebook tends to dominate everything that it turns its hand to. However, it is rapidly falling out of popularity with publishers for several different reasons.

The fact that Facebook is prioritising visual content such as videos and imagery over text-based content is putting off many potential customers.

Publishing giants including the BBC and National Geographic have both already pulled out of Facebook instant articles.

Google, on the other hand, is heading in a different direction by opening up the world of the mobile web and providing more ways to monetise content.

The two web giants will undoubtedly keep battling it out to be crowned the king of content publishing. But for now, Google AMP is definitely leading the way when it comes to publisher satisfaction, monetisation options and flexibility.

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