Cashing in a promise made in February, Facebook has opened up its Instant Articles platform to all publishers. The release coincides with Facebook’s annual F8 conference, held in San Francisco this week.
As part of an ideal of enabling users to take care of business without leaving Facebook, Instant Articles provide Facebook mobile users with fast-loading, sleek, mobile-optimized versions of articles from publishers. This is achieved by Facebook hosting the articles on its own servers, rather than sending readers off to the publisher’s website.
To make up for the loss of website traffic in a business that relies heavily on display advertising, publishers are able to monetize Instant Articles by displaying their own ads or through Facebook’s Audience Network. In order to provide a seamless process, Facebook has teamed up with various third-party providers such as WordPress, Drupal, Chartbeat and comScore to help publishers create, manage and monitor their Instant Articles.
What good are they then, you might ask?
Facebook claims that Instant Articles are read 20 percent more often, retain readers 70 percent better and generate 30 percent more shares than regular article links. For anyone in the publishing industry, those numbers are extremely attractive.
Until Tuesday, Instant Articles were only available to a select group of publishers. The feature was first launched last May with The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild named as launch partners. In September 2015, publishers such as The Huffington Post, Mashable, MTV, Business Insider and Vox Media were signed on.
Has your favorite news outlet already begun publishing Instant Articles? Let us know in the comments!