Facebook has announced that on April 12, it’ll be opening up its Instant Articles program to all publishers. If you’re interested in taking advantage of this, your site will need to adhere to specific technical requirements. The company has said that a “few hundred publishers” have already been on-boarded.
Introduced in May, Instant Articles are Facebook’s way of bringing content from publishers directly into readers’ News Feed. The aim is to streamline the process so users will get faster access to information that they’re interested in reading. Josh Roberts, a product manager at Facebook, explained that Instant Articles solves the problem of load times on the mobile web: “This is a problem that impacts publishers of all sizes, especially those with audiences where low connectivity is an issue.”
Initial partners included The Atlantic, BBC News, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, National Geographic, NBC, The New York Times, and Spiegel Online.
There were some concerns in the beginning about Instant Articles, especially in terms of how much revenue generated from the views and ads would be passed along to publishers versus kept by Facebook. “Publishers can sell ads in their articles and keep the revenue, or they can choose to use Facebook’s Audience Network to monetize unsold inventory,” Facebook product manager Michael Reckhow wrote in May. “Publishers will also have the ability to track data and traffic through comScore and other analytics tools.”
However, late last year, some publishers expressed disappointment in the performance of this program, causing the social networking company to look at new approaches for its advertising platform. And Facebook isn’t the only player in the game: Google also has its version of Instant Articles out in the marketplace.
Roberts today reiterated Facebook’s stance, saying: “[Publishers] have the ability to bring their own direct-sold ads and keep 100% of the revenue, and track data on the ads served through their existing ad measurement systems, or they can monetize their content through the Facebook Audience Network. Additionally, publishers can use their existing web-based analytics systems to track article traffic or use third-party providers. They can do all this while accessing a rich suite of multimedia tools to create dynamic, interactive stories, that will load quickly everywhere on Facebook, regardless of where in the world their readers are.”
The timing of the access isn’t coincidental, as it’ll take place during Facebook’s 2016 F8 developer conference where there’s likely to be greater focus on how to implement Instant Articles and other tools for publishers, especially since there won’t be talk about Parse updates.