Just five months after loading the ‘instant article’ feature into its news feed, the format is progressing into iPhones. According to Chris Cox, Facebook will now be able to publish several thousands of articles every day. The format will also be tested in Android devices and the same would be available by the end of 2015. Aptly called as ‘the package of journalism’ Instant articles will allow many readers across the globe will now be able to read stories inside the realms of the social networks instead of following links that lead to websites. Since May, Facebook has been able to come up with more than a dozen publications of instant articles. The new feature however would be available only for mobile users.
So what would be the implications?
To start off, there would be huge decline in traffic that publishing websites received from Facebook. However, on the other side, it also gives businesses an opportunity to connect with targeted users (even a larger audience base) via their Instant Articles news feed. To top that, Facebook is also collaborating with comScore to develop analytics into the number of people that read a particular article. The traffic will be credited to the publisher. For Facebook, this feature will enhance the social networking experience by keeping the users inside the platform. TR Viswanath, a Facebook engineer says that the technology powering Instant Articles will allow content (both text and video) to load faster on mobile apps that it would have been the case with website links. Interactive maps, embedded audio, tilt to pan photos and auto-play video are other features that will engage more number of audiences.
Instant Articles will not necessarily show up on every iOS user’s new feed immediately. Though a timeline hasn’t been confirmed, the company suggests that the feature will be available to around 12.5% of iOS device users and this number will gradually rise. However, this incredible feature has also become one of the most discussed media issues. Media organizations will now have to give up a chunk of their revenues to Facebook for the targeted readership. This would be a big problem for small publications but brands like BuzzFeed, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Slate, Vox Media and the Atlantic have already tied up for the platform.
How it impacts businesses?
Facebook aptly believes that users will be more interested to share news and articles that load instantly (10 times faster as promised) and this will enable the publisher to get a higher rank in the social networking site. Publishers across the globe are already scrambling to change the content management systems to compete with Facebook’s efficiency. The faster loading pages are achieved by stripping down the tracking codes and advertisements that normally run on web page links. However, Instant Articles are also made more interactive where users can tilt down their phones to browse photos and also seek 3D maps to seek out more information about the business. Basically, instant articles will be a “Facebook version of your website promotion”