11 Reasons Why Facebook’s New “Instant Articles” Feature Is An Industry Game-Changer



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Facebook just introduced their latest product, Instant Articles, to the world, and everyone should understand what it means today, and in the near future too.

Essentially, “Instant Articles” are pieces of content that are consumed and experienced entirely within Facebook’s mobile apps. Only a handful of publishers have access to create Instant Articles, including The New York Times, BuzzFeed, National Geographic, NBC News, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, and a few others. The goal, though, is for any publisher to create and share Instant Articles, but this open access for all will certainly take some time.

Facebook is now a premiere destination for news and content aggregation, and the primary source of media consumption for individuals across the globe. This new product not only impacts consumers, but marketers, content creators, publishers, and the entire media industry. Let’s examine some of the top reasons why Instant Articles is a big deal:

1. Readers Save Time Through A More Convenient User Experience

There are a lot of articles shared across Facebook, and unfortunately, these stories take around eight seconds to load. Instant Articles transforms the reading experience for people. Now, content loads up to ten times faster than standard mobile web articles.

2. Interactive Features Within The Articles

Publishers can add interactive features to their Instant Articles, such as zoom for high-resolution photos, auto-playing videos, interactive maps, and audio captions. Readers can even “Like” and comment on individual parts of an article.

3. Publishers Can Sell Ads in their Articles and Keep the Revenue

This is not just a different form of content, it’s a monetization opportunity too. If you’re a publisher, and sell the ads yourself, you keep 100% of the revenue. If Facebook sells the ads, you get 70% of the revenue. Publishers can also choose to use Facebook’s Audience Network to monetize unsold inventory. And don’t worry, Facebook will alow publishers to track data and traffic through analytics tools, including comScore and Google Analytics.

4. Daily News, Long-Form Articles, And Everything In Between

Facebook wants all publishers to eventually benefit from Instant Articles, once they allow everyone access, of course. Whether it’s a couple of paragraphs, a listicle, or a longer read, publishers of all content forms can find their unique, brand voice via Instant Articles.

5. Facebook Appears To Genuinely Want To Help Publishers

TechCrunch reported a meeting between Facebook’s Instant Articles team, and BuzzFeed’s VP Of Product, Chris Johanesen, who told Facebook the only way Instant Articles would work is if the following requests become a reality. Before you read them, know that Facebook said “yes” to every one.ˇ

  • Compatibility with comScore traffic measurement
  • Compatibility Google Analytics to understand the audience
  • To make sure Google Analytics worked across all its content
  • Compatibility with BuzzFeed’s internal analytics tools
  • Control of design to make Instant Articles look and feel like BuzzFeed articles
  • Ability to work with BuzzFeed on special formats like quizzes
  • Monetization

6. Brand Consistency Through The Design

The New York Times font, BuzzFeed’s quizzes, National Geographic’s yellow border. Subtle design elements that are instantly associated with publishers will be present in Instant Articles on Facebook. On top of fonts and colors, Instant Articles will also support various forms of embeds such as Tweets and YouTube videos. They’ll even accommodate web views for rich content flexibility like interactive infographics.

7. No Minimum, No Maximum, No Exclusivity

Once opened to everyone, publishers small and large can create Instant Articles. There are no minimum requirements, so that once-aa-month case study is good to go. There isn’t a maximum amount of Instant Articles either, so publish like you’ve never published before! And have no fear posting the article around the web, such as your own blog, website, partners, and more. Facebook won’t force you to publish exclusively with them.

8. Facebook Makes It Super Simple To Turn Your Content Into Instant Articles

Overall, publishers won’t have to conform to Facebook’s rules and formats. This is because Facebook allows publishers to use a content “bridge” that parses the HTML and RSS of your articles, and turns them into Instant Articles for Facebook’s mobile newsfeeds. TechCrunch reported, “enabling rich media tools like audio captions takes just a single extra line of code or tag.”

9. Mobile First Experience That Makes Everyone Happy

Content’s layout and experience is designed for user scrolling, where videos will instantly play without extra taps too. There are some special touch and tilt capabilities that readers will love, and publishers won’t have to worry about.

10. Less Clickbait, More Images That Pop

Users are greeted with branded cover images as they scroll through their newsfeed feed. Publishers can use video as image covers too, which utilize Facebook’s autoplay format. If an image speaks a thousand words, animated Instant Article covers might speak tens of thousands. They’re flashier than traditional covers, and more clicks will help your content appear in the feed of more people.

11. Authors Can Be Highlighted Within The Content

Some publishers have writers and journalists that attract a loyal following of readers, and with Instant articles, authors’ Facebook profiles can be featured. This makes it easy for users to track their favorite writers, and also provides some additional love and support to the individuals creating the content.

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