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Facebook’s Instant Articles for all publishers good for reading news on mobile

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facebook-instant articles

Facebook, which announced Instant Articles in April 2015, will make the service available for all publishers, regardless of their size and location starting this April, the company said in a post. It added that despite signing up a ‘few hundred’ publishers globally (about 300 at last count), the social networking giant had been working on tools for opening up Instant Articles, which was built to address slow loading times on mobile web.

The company also added that it’s intention was to open up Instant Articles from the beginning to all publishers, who will now have full control over the ‘look of their stories, data and ads’. Publishers will be able to bring ads they sold directly and keep 100% of the revenue, track data on ads through existing ad measurement systems or monetise through the Facebook Audience Network. It is unclear if publishers will need to pay to sign up. Facebook says that it is using publishers’ content management systems and an open web standard (HTML5, XML like language) which publishers can adopt.


Also read: Facebook’s Instant Articles to let publishers display ads more frequently

Revenue sharing model scrapped
In December, Facebook claimed that 300 publishers had enrolled for its program globally, and 100 publishers were using it daily to distribute content. When it launched, we’d reported that publishers could allow Facebook to sell ads where Facebook would keep 30% of the generated revenue. At the time of launch Facebook claimed that

– web articles on the Facebook app take an average of 8 seconds to load, which is the slowest single content type on Facebook and

– Instant Articles will load content in less than a second (10x faster than standard mobile web articles).

By hosting content on Facebook, it claimed a smoother reading experience and faster means of delivering content to the reader. As a reminder, the company has previously reduced the reach of news updates significantly, as a means to make publishers pay for content.

MediaNama’s take: Opening the platform up for all publishers basically makes Facebook a single levelled platform, equal for the treatment of publishers regardless of their location or preference. It’s going to benefit those especially who use Facebook as a news discovery platform but are stuck at the mercy of their mobile operators when on incredibly slow data plans.

Diversification through Notify
In November 2015, the company launched Notify, a new app for US iPhone users, that offered curated notifications on the phone’s lock screen from multiple sources like Bloomberg Business, BuzzFeed, Elle Magazine, Fox News, Getty Images, GQ, Hulu, Quartz, Tech Meme, Wired etc.

In November 2014, it introduced FB Techwire, a Facebook page which lets journalists access breaking news, analyses, photos and videos posted to Facebook by ‘tech influencers and organisations’, which was powered by Storyful, which Facebook also uses or used for FB Newswire.

Also read: Feeding the beast: Five Indian publishers sign up for Facebook’s Instant Articles

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