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Facebook courts mobile publishers with Instant Articles

Facebook instant articles

Social media giant Facebook has unveiled a new product designed to appeal to publishers looking to improve their delivery on the platform.

According to Facebook regular stories, such as those published by Telecoms.com, take on average eight seconds to load on mobile devices. The stated aim of Instant Articles is to optimise content for the Facebook platform such that content loads a lot quicker – up to ten times it is claimed.

On top of the quicker loading, Instant Articles also offers publishers the ability to upload high resolution images that users can zoom into, auto-play videos, interactive maps and in-line comments. Facebook will allow publishers to keep 100% of ad revenue if they make their own and provide a suite of analytics tools.

“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.”

“It is great to see Facebook trialling new ways for quality journalism to flourish on mobile,” said Tony Danker, International Director at the Guardian. “The Guardian is keen to test how the new platform can provide an even more engaging experience for our readers. It is then vital that, over time, Instant Articles delivers recurring benefit for publishers, whose continued investment in original content underpins its success.”

Instant Articles will debut on the Facebook app for iPhone and seems to be designed to offer publishers a low-commitment, high reward opportunity to give the product a try. Internet giants such as Facebook and Google are not just a threat to telco business models – media such as those owned by News International (WSJ, Times, Sun, etc), that look to generate revenue by charging readers for access frequently shake their fist at such companies. For those primarily reliant on ad revenue, however, this looks like a good opportunity, so long as Facebook doesn’t unilaterally change the rules in its favour down the line.


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