Facebook Instant Articles Will Bring Content Directly Into Newsfeed; 9 Publishers Signed In
Facebook has launched a new product for publishers: Instant Articles, which will directly inject news and content into user’s mobile newsfeeds. As of now, publishers can only share link on their Facebook pages. A user can view a thumbnail image and 2-3 lines of content; based on which a decision to click that link is made.
But now, with Instant Articles, the user can directly read the content on Facebook’s platform, without clicking any link.
Michael Reckhow, Product Manager at Facebook announced the launch of Instant Articles via blog post, where Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox said, “Fundamentally, this is a tool that enables publishers to provide a better experience for their readers on Facebook. Instant Articles lets them deliver fast, interactive articles while maintaining control of their content and business models.”
9 Publishers Which Have Signed Up
To begin with, Facebook has convinced 9 major publishers to get included in their Instant Articles program: The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild.
As of now, only iPhone users can experience Instant Articles on their mobile phone. On day one, NYT, BuzzFeed, National Geographic, NBC and The Atlantic published one article each on this new platform.
6 Unique Features of Instant Articles
a) Images on the news articles can be zoomed by just tilting the phone; this will consume even less time and improve the overall experience
b) As the user scrolls through the story, videos will be played automatically
c) Interactive maps on the news article will help the user to explore the content in a better way
d) Captions can be listened
e) The user can like and comment individual sections within the article
f) Publishers can monetize the content both ways: Either they can place their own ads or join Facebook’s Audience Network to monetize unsold space. ComScore and other analytics tools are integrated in the platform to track traffic and other details.
Speed: The Holy Grail of Digital Experience
Facebook’s primary focus while offering Instant Articles is speed. As per the announcement, Instant Articles will improve the reading experience of a user by 10 times, as it will take less than a second to load the whole content. As of now, on an average, 8 seconds are consumed to load news articles on Facebook’s newsfeed, which is the worst performing content on Facebook.
When Amazon declared that a delay of one tenth in loading a page can cause 1% dip in sales, the digital industry recognized the value and important of speed. They actually lost $1.6 billion for a delay of 1 second.
In 2013, Google researched that ISPs & website owners should ensure that a mobile site should be opened in a second, in order to improve user experience and increase mobile sales. At that time, only 16% of the Fortune 100 websites opened in one second.
And, moreover, all four mobile apps from Facebook: Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook are among the top 10 most downloaded and used apps. Considering their mobile centric user base, they need to come up with such innovative solutions, in order to maintain its dominance.
Early last year, Facebook had launched their own app called Paper to get into publishing platform and gain market share. But it failed miserably. Only 2.5 months after it’s launch, it was reported that the usage has fallen sharply, and no further news or update were announced. It is still available on iOS, and there are no plans for Android version.
It would be really interesting to observe how Instant Articles is received by users; and will it be able to make any dent in the content market.