Social-First? Facebook’s New Instant Articles Lead the Charge
One day, we might never have to leave Facebook. Imagine: A singular, unified platform where all of our social, video and other online living needs are combined. Sound crazy? Maybe a little, but Facebook continues to march headlong down a path that might not be too far off. Last week, they announced the rollout of "Instant Articles" — a publishing platform where content producers can publish directly on the site.
"As more people get their news on mobile devices, we want to make the experience faster and richer on Facebook," says Facebook's Product Manager Michael Reckhow. "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." Capitalizing on their huge mobile audience, Facebook plans to cut out the middleman, theoretically making things a win-win situation for both readers and publishers.
And while it might seem like a heavy-handed power play for Facebook to siphon money and market share away from other ad platforms on the publisher's home sites, the social network has been rather open about the platform. "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," says Reckhow. "Publishers will also have the ability to track data and traffic through comScore and other analytics tools."
And it makes sense, really. More and more people have been getting their news and reading it on Facebook or other social media sites, whether a friend posts an article from the New York Times, or they click a link because they're following the Atlantic anyway. Now they're all housed together and provided an even better user experience.
It's interesting to note that the platform marks a convergence of many different marketing channels into one: social media, content, improved user experience — but is that always a positive thing? For an alternate take, we'll leave you with this humorous tweet from UX designer Jeremiah Lee:
Introducing Facebook Instant Articles. You never have to leave Facebook to get content. pic.twitter.com/sIC9UwaYcP
— Jeremiah Lee (@JeremiahLee) May 14, 2015
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