facebook branded content in instant articles

Facebook’s much talked about “Instant Article” feature is now live, allowing users to have a faster reading experience when going through important news stories of the day on their newsfeed. Along with that, Facebook also set aside all Publisher fears regarding revenues, by allowing them to take away as much as 100% of all ads if publishers sell it themselves.

Announcing the new feature via a blog Post, Michael Reckhow, Product Manager at Facebook said,

As more people get their news on mobile devices, we want to make the experience faster and richer on Facebook. People share a lot of articles on Facebook, particularly on our mobile app. To date, however, these stories take an average of eight seconds to load, by far the slowest single content type on Facebook. Instant Articles makes the reading experience as much as ten times faster than standard mobile web articles.

Along with a faster experience, Instant Articles introduces a suite of interactive features that allow publishers to bring their stories to life in new ways. Zoom in and explore high-resolution photos by tilting your phone. Watch auto-play videos come alive as you scroll through stories. Explore interactive maps, listen to audio captions, and even like and comment on individual parts of an article in-line.

And as has been the case with all of facebook’s products, Instant Articles ins’t just designed to show off a new UI. The stories in Instant Articles load almost 10 Times faster than they would normally load elsewhere, thus giving users an instant view of the entire story. When you tap one, instead of having to wait for an internal browser window opening the website to load, the screen slides over immediately revealing the hosted content.

And while the user experience is all good, Facebook made sure to design the new feature keeping publishers in mind. 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. Publishers will also have the ability to track data and traffic through comScore and other analytics tools.

Ads can appear inside Instant Articles, with publishers keeping 100% of revenue if they sell them, and Facebook keeps its standard 30% if it sells the ads, as the Wall Street Journal previously reported.

Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox said,

Fundamentally, this is a tool that enables publishers to provide a better experience for their readers on Facebook. Instant Articles lets them deliver fast, interactive articles while maintaining control of their content and business models.

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.

Instant Articles is launching on Facebook for iPhone with a special set of stories published by The New York Times, BuzzFeed, National Geographic, NBC and The Atlantic. All the mentioned publishers will publish one Instant Article each today, which will appear on their Facebook timelines. All Facebook app users on the iOS can start seeing the Instant Article feature almost immediately by tapping on to any of these nine stories.

Facebook says it will continue to develop Instant Articles to allow more publishers to get onboard. The social networking giant will also ask you for feedback to the new feature so as to improve the same in further updates.


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