When the entire web bends towards something that is too good, even I would do. But this time, at least with Facebook Instant Articles, I chose against because of some things that might later again change my thought, based on how Facebook takes feedback from web publishers.
If you are reading this, you should probably know that Facebook Instant Articles is the latest platform from Facebook to load articles faster if your link is clicked from a Facebook app, and the user won’t be leaving the app. It is, as the name suggests, instant in loading and has a very different interface from what your blog’s mobile interface might look like.
I’d have had no issues in using the feature and sending my social visitors to a faster-loading page with very little to do on the coding side to set it up.
Instant Articles is good but not for everyone. In fact, many who are using it are just experimenting to see how well it helps and works for them. Here are the reasons why I opted against using it on my blog.
Limited sharing options
Ironic but true that the social network itself is limiting it so much that you cannot do much about the sharing options. Have a mobile version of the regular theme and you can do anything, even have buttons to share the content on WhatsApp.
I just had installed a plugin to see where are my tech posts shared more often, and it was on WhatsApp more than the others. From Facebook Instant Article, you cannot share it to the other social networks including WhatsApp. The maximum you could do it is on Twitter, and Messenger, if not your own Facebook timeline.
Facebook allows interaction only on the status update, not on the page. Not even the “Facebook Comments for WordPress” plugin works here and so, my readers won’t be able to send out any comment on the blog posts.
This is one of the very important reasons. Interaction is what keeps the blog active and good, and I cannot have a page without a comment box.
No custom scripts work on it
I’m currently running a giveaway on a blog and having Instant Articles means I cannot show the contest widget, or even anything similar to that. It is a big deal breaker as I have to force my readers to an external page and this being a contest mostly about social following and interaction, Facebook Instant Articles take away the purpose of it.
Where’s the search button?
With Instant Articles, I am taken to a page with content filled in it, and nothing else except for three recent posts linked at the bottom. No menu, no search button or anything else. Once the reading is done, the reader is back to Facebook.
This might be good for a few but look at it from a Blogger’s perspective. You aren’t getting the reader to explore more content in any way.
No good monetization
Facebook Audience Network, of course, is a way you can try to earn something out of Instant Articles, but the results were very poor. The picture shows only a part of my test period, and the results were no different throughout the month.
On a blog, you are not limited to Google Adsense but can have Amazon widget for Affiliates, Contextual ad networks, Related Post promotions, etc., which are all thrown away to show the Instant Article.
There are some other smaller reasons as well, but the above ones are very important for me.
In fact, if you visited this page from Facebook on your mobile and are able to share, comment, and even check out some related content, it is only because this is not an Instant Article on Facebook.
Things could change in the future, and I could then see myself trying it out again and have Instant Articles enabled for my website, but for now, I am sure even most of my readers will be happy spending a few more seconds and see the article load properly with all the options, rather than this too-limited page with nothing else but the content.