Vocativ is a digital publisher that thinks deeply how the future is being shaped by technology. Founded three years ago, they publish content focusing on national security, privacy and technology by mining stories from the deepest parts of the web other publishers can’t access. As a digital business that believes in being fully distributed, Vocativ was interested in using Instant Articles to get their articles to a larger audience on Facebook.
Vocativ decided to test Instant Articles by publishing 100% of their eligible content on the platform for six weeks over December and January and see the results before going further. At the end of the test, referral traffic increased 53% and returning visitors increased 37%. The publisher has seen reach and engagement expand, and continues to publish nearly all articles to the platform.
Vocativ had questions before joining Instant Articles. Primarily about how it would affect referral traffic. “We debated this heavily internally. We’re a data driven company, so our natural inclination is to test,” says Susie Banikarim, Chief Content Officer at Vocativ. The company performed several smaller tests over six months. They dipped their toe in the water by publishing a few articles on Instant Articles while keeping others on the mobile web. After understanding the quality of the user experience, they decided to increase the test by publishing entirely on Instant Articles for six weeks.
“It was enlightening to do this experiment. We were unsure, but we took a bold move and saw amazing results,” says Banikaram. Vocativ found that once readers associated all its articles with this faster, more immersive experience, the traffic numbers exceeded their expectations.
Over the course of a six-week test where all articles were shared as Instant Articles, Vocativ saw the following results:
Referral Traffic Increased 53%
Average Reach Per Post Increased 11%
Comments Increased 48%
Shares Increased 11%
Returning Visitors Increased 37%
“How an article is delivered has as much of an impact on whether people read it as anything else. As a reader, as an audience, you respond better to content delivered in an efficient way. Anytime we can deliver content faster and cleaner, it’s better for everyone.” — Susie Banikarim, Chief Content Officer at Vocativ
* Results provided by Vocativ and sourced from Google Analytics and Facebook