If the term Facebook Instant Articles seem foreign to you, trust me, you probably have seen it, you just don’t know the exact terminology.
For the past couple of months you probably saw a little lightning bolt on some articles shared with some of the most popular pages and brands on social media. Brands like Al Jazeera, BuzzFeed etc. (1,000 to be specific worldwide)
You would have noticed how fast those articles loaded more than others. At the back of your head, you knew they consumed less bandwidth and therefore you spend less data on your mobile payment plan.
This created a win-win solution for both you the consumer and the publisher. Because the faster an article loads the more engaging and relevant it becomes.
In February, Facebook announced to make Instant Articles available for all publishers. And during the social network’s F8 global developers’ conference in San Francisco, Facebook product manager, Josh Roberts did just that.
Instant Articles allows anyone to import their content onto Facebook and add it directly to a user’s news feed.
In addition to the general availability of instant articles, Facebook added new partners and tools, including intergrations with WordPress, Medium, ShareThis, Tempest, Adobe Analytics, Chartbeast, Nielsen, Parsley, Sovrn, Simplereach and RebelMouse.
Josh Robert wrote:
The response to Instant Articles has been tremendous: More than 1,000 publishers worldwide are officially part of the program, and at every step of the way, we see clear evidence that Instant Articles provides a better reading experience for people and a significant boost for publishers looking to reach their audiences on Facebook.
Additionally for many people around the world, it’s challenging to get news on mobile simply because it takes too long to load. We’ve invested heavily in optimizing performance on Android, with the goal of providing the best mobile reading experience for people everywhere, no matter where they are in the world or what connection or device they’re on. In countries like India, Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines and others, we’ve found that people on slower connections read 20 percent to 40 percent more Instant Articles than mobile web articles on average as a result.
One of our principles from the very beginning of Instant Articles has been to work collaboratively with our publishing partners to understand their needs and shape the product, and we want to thank them for their continued feedback. We look forward to continuing this journey of informing people and connecting them to the news that matters to them, together.
Facebook is also introducing Branded Content to Instant Articles. Branded content will allow:
- Customizing of text in the byline and kicker to indicate content sponsors.
- Visually distinguishing branded content from editorial content using article styling tools
- Include sponsor logo on the first screen through a native toolset (coming soon)
This move by Facebook has given it an edge over Google who have a similar initiative known as Accelerated Mobile Pages project. So far, this initiative is not open to all publishers.
Remember Facebook wants to keep you within their app and Google wants you in the mobile Web.
May the battles begin?