Facebook has launched a new feature in its official iOS client called “Instant Articles,” the company announced today. The feature will allow web publishers to create versions of their stories optimized for display inside the Facebook app. As suggested by the name, these optimized articles are designed to load instantly and provide a more native-feeling experience
As more people get their news on mobile devices, we want to make the experience faster and richer on Facebook. People share a lot of articles on Facebook, particularly on our mobile app. To date, however, these stories take an average of eight seconds to load, by far the slowest single content type on Facebook. Instant Articles makes the reading experience as much as ten times faster than standard mobile web articles.
Instant Articles also introduces a few new features that allow publishers to make their articles more interactive. You can tilt your phone to zoom in and explore high resolution photos. Auto-play videos will ‘come alive’ as you scroll through stories. You can also explore interactive maps, listen to audio captions, as well as like and comment on individual parts of an article in-line.
Notably, Facebook says that publishers will have control over their stories, brand experience, and monetization opportunities. They’ll be able to sell ads in their articles and keep the revenue, or use Facebook’s Audience Network to monetize unsold inventory. In addition, data and traffic can be tracked through comScore and other analytic tools.
“Fundamentally, this is a tool that enables publishers to provide a better experience for their readers on Facebook” said Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox. “Instant Articles lets them deliver fast, interactive articles while maintaining control of their content and business models.”
For launch Facebook is working with nine partners including: The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild.
Instant Articles is launching on Facebook for iPhone with a special set of stories published by The New York Times, BuzzFeed, National Geographic, NBC and The Atlantic.