Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Should you let Facebook host your content on its mobile app?

As I'm sure you have heard, Facebook recently announced that it is developing a proposal to offer content hosting to media companies via its mobile app. At first glance, this seems like a compelling idea: Facebook is a huge driver of web traffic, particularly for media companies, and over 50% of digital media engagement occurs on mobile devices. If you're a publisher who is not already leveraging a digital publishing solution, there's a good chance you've considered jumping onto the e magazine bandwagon. But publishers should be wary. Here are some important things to consider:

1. Impressions on Facebook do not necessarily translate to brand recognition or loyalty

If someone clicks on your article in their newsfeed, reads and enjoys it, but then moves on, the probability that they will remember your brand is low. When your content is hosted on Facebook's servers, this means that the web traffic your content generates will not be yours. The crux is that Facebook controls the medium, and their ultimate incentive is to keep all of its traffic from leaving, plain and simple. Publishers right now are driving traffic through Facebook to get readers onto their websites, interacting with their content and enjoying memorable, sustained interactions with their brands. Facebook is attempting to change the game by positioning itself as the ultimate destination, rather than the conduit for digital media engagement. For publishers, this threatens brand recognition and undermines their attempts to generate loyal readers.

2. Social media is (probably) not the foundation of your brand

Social media is important, no doubt about it. Advertisers today value your content's ability to be circulated far and wide via Facebook, Twitter, and similar channels. But here's the thing: when you post an article to Facebook, you're competing with every other piece of content posted to the newsfeed for impressions, clicks, and shares. And there's a whole lot of content being posted to Facebook. Ultimately, winning content will be that which is optimized for the social medium. Are you optimizing your content for social? Are you confident in your ability to generate explosive viral content on a regular basis? If the answer to either of these questions is no, then social media is not the foundation of your brand and relying on it too heavily is a risky proposition. Rather, you need to connect everything you do into a bold narrative that spans your distribution channels. Your readers deserve the value your content offers. Why force them to drown in Facebook's limitless sea?

PixelEdge is a mobile publishing agency dedicated to helping magazine publishers have effective mobile presences for their publications. We provide our clients with cost-effective apps that enhance the values of their brands, all for a fixed monthly price.