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European Publishers Discover New Audiences Through Instant Articles

By Alfredo Bermejo, Guido Bülow and Edouard Braud, News Partnerships

We launched Instant Articles in April, 2016, and publishers across Europe started delivering faster-loading, more immersive mobile articles to their followers. Publishers quickly discovered that in addition to providing a better mobile reading experience, the platform opened their content up to brand new audiences. Whether it’s through populations with limited mobile connections now accessing their content for the first time, or increased exposure within their own country, people are discovering more European publications through Instant Articles.

France 24 has seen significant spikes in traffic from French-speaking countries in West Africa. Turkish publisher Onedio has grown its user base in India and the Philippines. El País, Spain’s largest daily newspaper, discovered that 66% of its Instant Articles readers are new to the publication. Meanwhile, KIT quadrupled its followers and in one year went from a digital upstart to one of Sweden’s larger publishers.

By leveraging the same technology used to display photos and videos quickly in the Facebook app, Instant Articles is designed and engineered to be the best mobile reading experience for people everywhere, no matter where they are in the world or what connection or device they’re on. Now that readers have greater access to news content through Instant Articles, European publishers are seeing their audience grow on Facebook.

Spain: El País

El País initially joined Instant Articles to test how the platform might affect article consumption amongst its current followers. “We thought it would be a good experiment because it gives users a better experience in a much nicer design environment,” says Noemí Ramírez García, Chief Digital Officer.

El País monitored its results over several months and found something they didn’t necessarily expect: 66% of Instant Articles readers were new to El Pais’s site, according to internal metrics. “The new readers are the best KPI [Key Performance Indicator] we have from Instant Articles. We reach new people through the format,” says Ramírez. “We found that if we increase the number of Instant Articles we publish, we see an increase in overall users month after month. Great experiences lead to new audiences.”

*Numbers provided by El Pais and sourced from Adobe Omniture


Turkey: Onedio

Onedio is a five-year-old Turkish site that publishes listicles, quizzes and articles with a focus on entertainment and culture. Last year, in an effort to deliver content to mobile readers in the quickest and most engaging way on Facebook, the site began publishing 90% of their articles as Instant Articles.

Within a few months of implementing Instant Articles across its Turkish and English language versions of its written content, Onedio saw significant increases in both traffic and engagement. Traffic overall rose 42% in that time, but the site had its largest growth on its English language version. 57% of Instant Articles readers on that edition are new to the brand. “We’ve seen big gains in foreign countries like India and the Philippines with English readers. We believe that’s because of Instant Articles,” says Ömer Özener, Chief Operating Officer.

*Numbers provided by Onedio and sourced from Google Analytics


France: France 24

Even with its massive global reach, international news site France 24 was looking to expand. By publishing all of its eligible content as Instant Articles, entire populations from Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Senegal and many other French-speaking African countries where mobile connections are limited, now have better access to France 24s French language edition. As a result, referral traffic from Instant Articles took off. Instant Articles accounted for 42% of the publication’s 50% lift overall between April and November 2016.

We have a large French speaking audience, but much of them are in countries without a great internet connection,” says Lyès Jmili-Despaquis, Business Developer, Digital Department, France 24. “Instant Articles lets us get our content to this audience and provide a much better user experience. And Audience Network provides these users relevant ads we couldn’t have otherwise in those markets.”

By sourcing ads from Facebook’s 4 million global advertisers, Audience Network helped France 24 better monetize these new audiences the publisher didn’t have direct sold ads for. The company saw its biggest gains on the Arabic edition of France 24, which generated more ad revenue in its first month through Instant Articles than it saw in its previous 6 months combined on the mobile web.

* Numbers provided by France Médias Monde and sourced from ComScore

Sweden: KIT

KIT launched in 2015 as a news site that builds content made to be consumed on social platforms. As soon as the publisher could sign up with Instant Articles they did, believing that delivering seamless social content is key to the company’s growth. “Instant Articles is the embodiment of our philosophy at KIT, which is to be fully distributed by providing a great reading experience in the place where readers actually get news,” says Fredrik Strömberg, KIT’s co-founder.

The site was only six months old when it started publishing Instant Articles. Since then, the company has quadrupled its followers and launched two verticals, KIT Mat (food) and KIT Beauty exclusively on Instant Articles. “We now have around 165,000 followers on our main KIT account, and that is around half of what the tabloid ‘giants’ here in Sweden have, and a fair bit more than the biggest national dailies. So we’ve come from nothing to that position in 18 months.”


* Chart provided by KIT