Facebook Instant Articles for all publishers, come April

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Instant articles in use

Interesting news from the folks at Facebook – Instant Articles for all:

We’re excited to announce that on April 12th at Facebook’s F8 conference, we will be opening up the Instant Articles program to all publishers—of any size, anywhere in the world. To date, we’ve been working with a few hundred publishers around the world to build an incredibly fast and immersive reading experience for people on Facebook. While we were getting feedback and making improvements to Instant Articles, in parallel we’ve been building the tools to open up Instant Articles more broadly.

There’s no doubt in my mind that, if you’re using the Facebook app (which you might not be due to battery concerns…) that Instant Articles create a great experience for the reader. The sort of excellent quality experience that puts most of publishing’s mobile efforts to shame. And there’s reason to be optimistic about the revenue aspects, too:

“A lot has changed,” said Joe Speiser, co-founder of LittleThings.com, which publishes stories and videos optimized for social sharing. “The biggest stumbling block with Instant Articles was that we were making less there than with visits to our own site. We are now seeing parity with our mobile Web version,” he said.

Publisher size doesn’t matter

However, the really deeply interesting thing to me about this, is that (if Poynter is to be believed), then any size of publisher can come play:

The program, which was previously available to a select group of publishers numbering in the hundreds, will be available to any Facebook user who owns a page. This opens the program to individual bloggers as well as larger newsrooms.

What looked like a competitive advantage for the big publishers is now beginning to look like a game anyone can play. And that make this a very interesting move for emergent media.

But why announce it now? Well, Laura Hazard Owen has a suggestion:

Well, there’s the little fact that Google’s Instant Articles competitor, Accelerated Mobile Pages, is launching widely any day now, and any publisher will be able to use it.

I’m already serving AMPs, even on this little blog of mine. Ain’t competition grand?

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.