Released last week after months of rumours, Facebook’s Instant Articles enables publishing partners to publish directly to the company’s iOS mobile app. At launch, nine US and European media publishers (including The New York Times, National Geographic and BBC News) are participating.
Instant Articles is so-called because news stories load quickly within the Facebook app (in under eight seconds, according to Facebook). Stories can include such features as interactive maps, audio captions, embedded tweets, photos, image galleries, videos and interactive graphics.
Partner publishers can choose to sell their own advertisements and keep all of the ad revenue, or let Facebook sell the ads for a 30 percent commission. There are no requirements as to publishing frequency, and they can end their participation at any time.
Facebook expects Instant Articles to keep users engaged for longer, addressing the slow load times reported to be the main reason people leave the app.
Why should you care?
Facebook plans to make Instant Articles available to any publisher that shares stories on Facebook.
For publishers, Instant Articles is an opportunity to reach a wider audience. However, it remains to be seen the extent to which this might impact visits to their websites, or usage of their apps.
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Jeremy and Mark are two of the partners behind SureFire Search. Despite their deceptively youthful appearances, both have worked in search marketing for many years. To put that in context, Google didn't even exist when Jeremy started.