Facebook Launches Instant Articles For Publishers

In what has been described as good news for Web publishers and readers Facebook has introduced a new feature to its platform that allows publishers to publish their content direct to Facebook. Facebook says… Along with a faster experience, Instant Articles introduces a suite of interactive features that allow publishers to bring their stories to life in new ways. Zoom in and explore high-resolution photos by tilting your phone. Watch auto-play videos come alive as you scroll through stories. Explore interactive maps, listen to audio captions, and even like and comment on individual parts of an article in-line. “Fundamentally, this is a tool that enables publishers to provide a better experience for their readers on Facebook,” said Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox. “Instant Articles lets them deliver fast, interactive articles while maintaining control of their content and business models.” Many would agree that articles sourced from many news sites take too long to load on Facebook’s mobile platform in particular – about 8 seconds on average, which is an eternity. Many of us source our daily news updates and add to our required reading lists directly from sites like Facebook and Twitter. Some worry about Facebook’s growing power over how journalism is distributed and seen. In making concessions, Facebook has allowed clicks and shares on Facebook to count towards the publisher’s site traffic despite Instant Articles keeping readers within Facebook. Facebook is also letting publishers keep 100 percent of the revenue when they sell ads themselves on Instant Articles and giving them data on their readers. If they can’t sell the ad space themselves then they will get 70% of the revenue if Facebook sells it instead – still an attractive proposition for many. Twitter in particular will be concerned with these developments as Facebook continues to dwarf it in terms of users; 1.4 billion compared to over 300 million for Twitter. Twitter’s real-time nature has made it a trusted source of breaking news and interaction. Facebook is working with nine launch partners for Instant Articles: The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild. One major question being asked by media executives is whether Facebook can help publishers generate revenue from their mobile audiences more successfully than they can themselves? I wouldn’t be betting against Facebook. Instant Artciles