According to the Wall Street Journal, there have been some publisher concerns that they haven’t been earning enough revenue from Facebook’s Instant Articles. Facebook is currently experimenting with changes to advertising within the program.
The issue are the restrictions Facebook is placing on ads within the Instant Article format. Currently, only one 320 x 250 pixels banner-style ad is allowed for every 500 words of content within Instant Articles. Publishers would normally place three to four ads within similar stories on their mobile site. Also, Facebook isn’t allowing rich media ads within Instant Articles and is prohibiting publishers from selling Facebook-only campaigns. This is preventing them from selling Instant Articles ads at a premium.
The restrictions placed by Facebook makes it difficult for publishers to earn as much per cost as they do on their own properties.
The Instant Articles product Manager, Michael Reckhow, said that Facebook is testing changes to the ad policies for the format, including more ads and rich media.
“It’s early days with Instant Articles, but one of our principles from the beginning has been to work collaboratively with our publishing partners to understand their needs and shape the product,” Reckhow said. “We’re currently working closely with publishers to understand how their advertising in Instant Articles compares to the mobile web so we can deliver results, while maintaining a great reading experience for people.”
It seems that publishers are willing to gamble that the effort, despite issues with revenue, will eventually pay off. Joe Speiser, co-founder of LittleThings, is optimistic that Facebook will work out the kinks.
“It all comes down to how Facebook prioritizes this in news feed,” Speiser told the WSJ. “We’ve seen them prioritize video, and if they do anything similar with Instant Articles the numbers could go through the roof.”