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The Battle For Mobile Content: Facebook Instant Articles Vs. Google AMP

By now, it is crystal clear: Mobile web has become the primary platform to access internet by overtaking desktops. Thus, designers are shifting the ways of webpage designs and display primarily to suit mobile platforms. But this is a tricky process as one needs to consider factors such as limited data plans, fickle networks and slower processing speed.

This is very critical, since poorly designed or slow-loading pages might significantly amplify bounce rates, resulting in the loss of ad revenue.

In this regard, Facebook and Google have both launched initiatives designed towards enhancing mobile web experiences and also focusing at using less data while loading pages faster.


Facebook Instant Articles: An Introduction

An interesting study by Adweek reveals that on an average, internet users spend 50 minutes in a day, navigating through Facebook. This equates to approximately 5 years of an average person’s lifetime!

This whopping figure undoubtedly points at the immense scope for advertising and marketing on Facebook. Therefore, in order to intensify the prospects, Facebook launched ‘Facebook Instant Articles’ in spring 2015 in an attempt to load webpages faster.

This was certainly beneficial, since 90% of the users access Facebook via mobile platform.

Facebook Instant Articles offers a lot of benefits. Some of them are listed below:

• Instant Articles load 10 times faster than regular articles. This is greatly beneficial since the attention span of humans is decreasing.

• Instant Articles possess rich interface with vibrant images, rich videos and 3D views similar to the website. Hence, it prevents mobile platform from looking ‘dull.’

• Facebook Instant Articles enables space to insert ads within any content. Hence, you can make instant money by permitting ads within your published content.

• Facebook Instant Articles have led to greater engagement than desktop platform due to its faster loading time and rich interface.

However, Facebook Instant Articles have certain limitations too. For instance, it is limited only to Facebook platform alone. As a marketer, if you intend to target social media users across other sites such as Pinterest, Twitter or LinkedIn, then Facebook Instant Articles leaves you with limited scope.

facebook-instant-articles


Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in a nutshell

Although Google was only second in the race to launch Accelerated Mobile Pages in February 2016, it has found immense success.

One major advantage of Google AMP over FB Instant Articles is that it can appear inside mobile web browser on Google search result pages. AMP is an open source initiative that aims to reduce webpage loading time and improve user experience.

Google AMP comes with a lot of benefits, some of which are listed below:

• It boosts up website loading time. This is highly beneficial, since a study by Google reveals 53% of the website visits are discarded if a mobile site takes more than 3 seconds to load.

• Google AMP enhances SEO Ranking in Mobile-First Generation. Since mobile is the major platform to access internet, publishers must now concentrate on their search ranking beyond desktop browser. Since, page load time is a primary factor in SEO and AMP is an initiative by Google, AMP pages will be prioritized in search algorithms.

• Google AMP will lead to low bounce rate since faster loading pages makes the visitors less likely to leave your webpage.

Nevertheless, Google AMP has few disadvantages. One of the major technical drawbacks is that AMPs are limited in terms of branding and individuality.

When web designers employ JavaScript and CSS, then page loading time is effected significantly. Further, AMPs are not synchronous with pre-implemented tracking process i.e. they function differently than standard webpages in terms of storage and tracking.

google-accelerated-mobile-pages-AMP


Facebook Instant Articles vs Google AMP: A Comparison

Although both Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP are moving in different directions, they can still be compared in terms of their primary objective i.e. to minimize the page loading time.

In this regard, one of the parameter is “super accelerated load time.” Google AMP succeeded to achieve a super accelerated load time of 1.4 seconds, surpassing the average time of 5.3 seconds to load a mobile web article.

However, Facebook Instant Articles beats this record by a miniscule fraction of less than one tenth of a second – thereby truly attributing to its “instant” title.

However, in terms of result delivery Google AMP has succeeded to impress publishers worldwide by generating a stream of traffic that is three times more than that achieved by Facebook Instant Articles. Thus, Google AMP appears to have an upper hand over Facebook Instant Articles due to its broader scope over the online platform.


The Bottom Line

Given the fact that Google AMP works with over 2 billion webpages gives it a natural edge over Facebook Instant Articles, which works on Facebook alone. However, since an average person spends five years of his lifetime on Facebook indicates that Facebook Instant Articles has a lot of prospects in marketing.

Nevertheless, it appears to be falling out of place as Facebook is increasingly prioritizing videos over text articles in its news feed. Hence, one may arrive at a conclusion that Google AMP seems to be the winner – if not now, at least in the future with more technological improvements being executed.

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