Facebook has today launched Instant Articles, a new feature that will see the social network host news content from publishers direct on its platform.
Instant Articles is being launched in partnership with nine news organisations: The Atlantic, BBC News, Bild, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, National Geographic, NBC, The New York Times and Spiegel, all of whom will be hoping to further tap into Facebook’s 1.25 billion users.
The move has been rumoured for several months, with publishers expected to start posting in the new format from Wednesday evening (Bangkok time).
By hosting content on the social network via Instant Articles, Facebook says that content will load on a user’s smartphone up to ten times quicker than it does currently. This will mean that rather than having to wait for a link to load, new content should appear almost instantly.
A blog post from Facebook announcing Instant Articles read:
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.
We designed Instant Articles to give publishers control over their stories, brand experience and monetization opportunities. 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.
“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.”
Instant Articles is initially available via the iOS Facebook app.
Video: Facebook launches Instant Articles
This video from TechCrunch explains how Instant Articles will work: