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Indiatimes Sees Significant Improvement on Direct-Sold Ads by Using Instant Articles

March 16, 2017ByWill Bleakley

Indiatimes is a leading publisher in India and creates content designed to be consumed on social platforms. It publishes stories with a focus on the trending topics of the day across technology, politics, lifestyle, culture, and entertainment. Wanting to get its articles to the biggest audience possible, Indiatimes signed up with Instant Articles in November, 2015 and now publishes 100% of its eligible content to the platform. In addition to seeing a 70% rise in mobile traffic, the publisher has seen clickthrough rates on direct-sold ads perform 40% better when compared with the mobile web.

Indiatimes attributes this success to the design and placement of ads in Instant Articles, as well as fast load times. Not only are readers better able to load and consume Indiatimes articles, but its ads are more likely to be seen and engaged with on the Instant Articles platform. .


1. Provide a native user experience and gain a significant lift in traffic.

2. Use Facebook's automatic ad placement feature to optimize density and placement of direct-sold ads within Instant Articles.

3. Use Audience Network to backfill any unsold ad space.

Indiatimes is able to access entirely new segments of the Indian population with Instant Articles. Because Instant Articles loads natively within Facebook, it’s not reliant on strong mobile connections for loading high quality images and video. That means readers using a 2G network can load articles almost immediately. Indiatimes now gets most of its mobile audience from Instant Articles, and readers are more likely to finish an article because they aren't abandoning it as they wait for it to loads.

To monetize this larger audience, Indiatimes sells its own ads and then backfills any unsold inventory using Audience Network, Facebook's native ad network. About 40% of its ads are direct-sold, and thanks to the format's clean and simple design format, ads are given more prominence in a story.

To best optimize an ad's placement in an article, the publisher uses the automatic ad placement feature. This not only helps to ensure each article reaches its maximum ad density, but it also optimizes an ad's placement to be where readers are most likely to engage with it. Indiatimes has seen dramatic improvements in the clickthrough rate on its direct-sold ads as a result.


60% Of All Mobile Traffic Comes From Instant Articles

30% Better Scroll Depth Compared to Mobile Web

40% Higher CTRs in Direct-Sold Ads Compared to Mobile Web

30% Higher eCPMs Using Facebook's Audience Network

70% Lift in Mobile UV's Since Adopting Instant Articles

“Indiatimes is a leading publisher in India, with it’s content built around the social web. Recently, we were declared the most engaged publisher on FB globally during December 2016 by Newswhip. Naturally, the ability to deliver content seamlessly to our audience is an essential prerequisite to our strategy of creating ‘stories that matter to our generation’. The quick load times and immersive storytelling features of Instant Articles help our readers engage with our content even better. – Angad Bhatia, COO -

*Numbers provided by Indiatimes