Having become a primal distribution for the media and creating massive audiences for new media companies, Facebook’s influence as well as ambition as a distributor of news has grown slowly but steadily.
At a time when an 8 second duration for loading a link is considered an eternity by software standards, Facebook’s Instant Articles emerges as a new way for publishers to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook. Speed is the most important feature that is a must for any mobile software, and if information is not delivered instantly, we lose a bunch of goodness that could have been possible.
The main purpose of the instant articles then, is to retain this goodness by simply eliminating the annoying lag between tapping and reading.
A suite of interactive features that allow publishers to bring their stories to life in new ways with Instant Articles
- Speedy and Responsive
Using the same technology which Facebook uses to display media content speedily, these articles too load instantly. In fact, it is said to be 10 times faster than the standard mobile web. The reason behind the speed is because they strip most advertisements and analytics out of the article.
- ‘LIVE’ articles
The Instant Articles are published with powerful and new creative tools that bring your stories to life. You can zoom into high-definition photos; watch auto-play videos come alive; tilt to explore minute details; check out locations with interactive maps and even hear the author’s own voice with embedded audio captions. What more can one ask from a reading experience?
- Simple and Accessible
All you need to do to publish any type of article is to use existing production tools, conform to the standard markup language as well as harness standard HTML and RSS feeds. As simple as that! Once that has been achieved, you are on your way to providing a speedy and interactive reading experience to all your readers on Facebook.
- Total Control and Customization
Apart possessing complete control of your content as well as your business module, you get to sell ads in your articles and also keep the revenue for yourself (or you can choose to use Facebook’s Audience Network to monetize unsold inventory). Moreover, you can earn your comScore traffic credit and apply your own analytics tools. And we are not finished yet. Besides all this, you get to customize your brand identity in the very way you wish to represent it in the article.
Here is how it works
- Once you approach the article in your News Feed, the article begins pre-loading; so, once you tap on it, the article loads close to instantly.
- At the top of every page, publications get their logos, a ‘follow’ button and they also have the option to include the authors’ and photographers’ Facebook photos. The entire body of the article can be made more interesting with photos, videos, image galleries as well as be embedded with objects like tweets and other interactive graphics.
As for now, only an iOS version of Facebook’s app is available but an Android version is forthcoming too.
Facebook is working with nine launch partners for Instant Articles: The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild.
Even though Facebook’s Instant Articles is a new publishing format, it is one that publishers are foreseen to take very seriously. It marks a significant turning point in the evolution of the world of news. And perhaps the most vital thing to keep in mind about these articles is that they seem inevitable. Content presented on apps rather than websites isn’t the future of media — it’s the present.