Facebook Brings Publishers Content In-App with Instant Articles

FB Instant ArticlesFacebook has launched Instant Articles, bringing content from publishers such as The Guardian, BuzzFeed and BBC News within its iOS app, removing the need for users to click out to a mobile web page.

There are a few extra features that publishers can take advantage of, such as the ability to zoom into photos by tilting the iPhone, interactive maps and audio captions, but the main advantage for users is a faster reading experience. Facebook says Instant Articles load 10 times faster than standard mobile web articles, which at eight seconds are by far the slowest content type on the social network.

When it was revealed that Facebook was in discussions with publishers around this launch, there were concerns over what it would mean for the future of these businesses, which rely not only on ad revenue from their sites but also valuable reader data.

Facebook appears to have addressed these concerns with Instant Articles, announcing that publishers will be able to track data and traffic through comScore and other analytics tools – and potentially keep 100 per cent of ad revenue from the articles.

If publishers sell the ad space themselves, they get all the revenue. For any remaining unsold inventory, they can use Facebook’s Audience Network, in which case they keep 70 per cent of revenue according to Re/code.

“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.”