The Lowdown on Facebook's Instant Articles

Your Facebook newsfeed may finally be a place that can do actual news justice. Facebook has always struggled with how to push users to 3rd-party content without losing its grip on them (coming to the awkward arrangement of an in-app browser on mobile devices) – until now.

Recently announced, Facebook’s ‘Instant Articles’ tool enables publishers to embed their content directly within the Facebook news feed itself. It’s essentially a small aesthetic change to the way content is presented, ensuring they load faster and in a less disjointed manner (Facebook claim they’ll now load up to 10x faster than if a user were to click a link to an external site).

It’s similar to a streamlined version of Facebook’s somewhat maligned ‘Paper’ app, so presumably some lessons will have been learned. There are also an array of features, both reader facing and behind the scenes, that take advantage of Facebook’s suite of tools, such as autoplay video and in-line comments. There’s also room for advert placement within the articles (which, Facebook assure us, will see publishers keeping the revenue), comScore data tracking and other analytics available.

Originally available to nine partners (from The New York Times to Nat Geo to The Atlantic), there’s no known timeline to see this roll out to all publishers.

It’s an interesting development, and potentially very rewarding for online ‘long-form’ content publishers (as well as a way for Facebook to increase your dwell time even further).

Do you have a blog that languishes on an otherwise unloved site? It may be time to rehome it. Keen to offer your readers the chance to really get under the hood of your new product? Offer them an independent review, or partner with a trusted provider to let them explore in more detail without interruption.