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Facebook adds new features & publishers to Instant Articles

facebook-instant articles

Facebook is adding a dozen new publishers to its Instant Articles platform soon, although the company has refrained from naming these partners. The platform also added new feature to help publishers publish their full catalog of articles on Instant Articles everyday.

According to Facebook, publishers need to provide an RSS feed of their articles to be published to Facebook, post which new stories are loaded to Instant Articles automatically as soon as they are published on the publisher’s website and/or app. Updates and corrections are also automatically updated via RSS, although it’s not clear how long it will take for articles to reflect changes.

Facebook will also link each Instant Article to the URL of its web version, so when users share articles (directly from the source), the algorithm cross-checks the URL for its Instant Article equivalent, and delivers the Instant Article instead. Using HTML5, publishers will be able to use their own social media embeds, ads and analytics in Instant Articles. As of now, Facebook mentions that it only displays Instant Articles only to a small number of people, although it claims it will extend this feature to other users over the next few months.

Note that, Facebook announced Instant Articles in May this year, with news from The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News and German news publishers Spiegel and Bild. It’s worth noting that Facebook has already reduced the reach of news updates significantly with the intent of trying to get publishers to pay for better reach.

Google & Twitter’s publishing platform:

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Earlier this month, Google and Twitter said they were working together on their own version of ‘Instant Articles’ to display to users using either service on mobiles. However, this platform was not be a branded product, rather it would be open source in hopes that other tech companies would adopt it as well. The project would not host publisher content, rather it would show users cached copies of the publishers’ websites.

iAd for publishers:

Again this month, Apple announced The Apple News Format for publishers, which on release, would allow publishers to create editorial layouts and custom typography, along with galleries, audio, video and interactive animation. Publishers will also be able to use iAd, through which the could earn 70% of the revenues when iAd sells ads for them; otherwise they would be able to earn 100% revenue. iAd will provide publishers with campaign management, targeting and reporting features.

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