Facebook Instant Articles And What They Mean For Referral Traffic

IMG_1290Facebook Instant Articles And What They Mean For Referral Traffic

By Chris Crum

Thursday, May 14, 2015

And so it begins. After months of rumor and a little bit of chatter from the company itself, Facebook finally announced Instant Articles, its initiative to get publishers to let Facebook host content. The company bills it as “a fast and interactive experience for reading articles in News Feed” and “a tool for publishers to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook” while giving them “control over their stories, brand experience and monetization opportunities.”

Should publishers take the plunge and get involved with Instant Articles? Tell us what you think.

“Web articles in the Facebook app take an average of eight seconds to load, by far the slowest single content type on Facebook,” says product manager Michael Reckhow. “Using the same technology that loads photos and videos quickly in our mobile app, Instant Articles load as much as ten times faster than standard mobile web articles, so you get to the stories you want to read instantly. Once there, new features like tilt-to-pan photos, auto-play video, embedded audio captions, and interactive maps let you explore the story in beautiful new ways.”

Publishers can sell ads in their articles and keep the revenue or elect to use Facebook’s Audience Network to monetize unsold inventory. They’ll also have the ability to track data and traffic through comScore and other 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.”

The company is launching Instant Articles with 9 partners, including: The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild. For now, Instant Articles will only appear on Facebook’s iPhone app with a special set of articles published by these partners, but Facebook says it will continue to develop the product with partners over the coming months. If you’re a publisher and wish to get involved, you can contact Facebook about doing so here.