One week ago, Facebook started Instant Articles, on board a cooperation with a few selected publishers. German participants are “Bild“ and „Spiegel Online“. The media response is huge but also very diverse: While some predict the downfall of the journalistic independence, others are thankful for the new possibility to reach their target group where they spend most of their time – namely on the Facebook platform.
The idea is rather simple: Until now, publishers have shared a content link on Facebook which redirected the user to their own web page, now the article is fully embedded in Facebook. Main aspect for Facebook: The user does not need to leave the platform when wanting to access the content. Fact is, as long as users stay on the platform, Facebook earns money from advertising. Furthermore, those user do not represent a loss in revenue, but also have to be convinces to log back on – which is not so easy in the fact pace of the internet. In the Instant Article world the user gets what he wants – finding AND reading an article directly in Facebook.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Google plans to start „Shop on Google“ in the course of the next weeks – with will have certain parallels to Facebook Instant Articles. With „Shop on Google“, a product ad is not only displayed (e.g. when searching for an iPhone 6 – with deactivated ad blocker) but a „Shop on Google“-Button added. Hence, the products can be bought directly from Google. Whilst the product will still be delivered by an E-Commerce shop, Google forces itself in between the customer and the E-Commerce Shop relationship.
Google probably wants to start this experiment for the mobile sector for the same reason as Facebook developed Instant Articles: it is much harder to win back lost user in the mobile world than it is with Desktop. In addition, Mobile is the new central internet driver, as shown by ad spending share. Just recently, Google stated that already in 10 countries, the mobile usage is bigger than the desktop usage.
Google is not unknown to the shopping industry. With “Google Shopping“ they have already established a product comparison tool. However, this is only a listing of third party-shops and encourages user to leave their web page. Now they make switching web pages superfluous.
Facebook and Google have made their mobile strategy public: Preventing the user to leave their web page. How will Amazon counter Google’s attack? Actually, they have already made an attempt by launching the Amazon Fire Phone and integrating Amazon services seamlessly. The aim of the Amazon Fire Phone is to offer the user a holistic Amazon surrounding where there is no need to switch to foreign services at all. However, this attempt failed.
The impact of the rapidly increasing mobile usage is changing industries and commercial models. One should be curious what will be the next step after Instant Articles and "Shop on Google". The fight for the mobile users has begun.
This article was written by Dr. Christoph Mayer, Consultant and Media Specialist at SCHICKLER Media Consultants in Hamburg. It was also published in german language at www.schicklernext.com.