Facebook is huge. Ever since its launch in 2003, Facebook has seen a really exponential growth. With time, the internet has also changed rapidly. The internet hosts millions of web pages and billions of people reading them. Facebook is trying hard to make sure that people spend more time inside Facebook.
You can see this attempt in Facebook’s music sharing features, with lets you buy music on Facebook, it can also be seen in Facebook’s attempt to shopping, now it lets people pay for stuff right on their Facebook feed. Heck, you can now even donate to charities in Facebook.
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The reason behind all of that is pretty simple, the social networking giant does not want you to leave Facebook ever. The longer you stay in Facebook, more the company can show you ads and the more it will earn. Facebook Instant Articles are also a big step it this attempt.
Instantly Delivering and Getting Back
Normally, when a user or a page posts a link to any article outside, it looks like a big thumbnail and when anyone clicks on that thumbnail, he or she taken to the website. Depending on the network and other factors, it can take 10 seconds or more.
For today’s world, it is too slow.
Instant articles try to solve this problem by showing the article right in the Facebook app. It strips down the time of loading a web browser into RAM and connecting to a website. This makes the content consumption fast as hell. Rather than being hosted on other servers around the globe, Facebook instant articles are hosted on Facebook’s servers. This makes retrieval of them really fast. Apart from being fast they look a lot streamlined and they are easy to navigate.
Instant Articles are also great at being interactive, they can have auto-playing HTML5 Video and moving animations. You can tap into any photo to open and zoom upon it. Not just this, They can interactive maps, Galleries and more.
Arguably more importantly, they provide a streamlined minimalist view of posts and articles. It makes it far less unlikely to get lost in tons of menus and banner ads and popups.
About the future of Instant Articles
It is all great for you. Currently, only a handful of internet websites are using Instant Articles and it is only available for iPhone App. Soon it will be made available for other platforms (Android, Windows Phone) as well and more publisher’s will jump into this bandwagon too.
Publishers are liking it for two reasons,
It makes the Article Load Faster
Every site owner wants its site to load as fast as possible. Google also considers page load speed as a factor when it ranks them on Google Search Results. More importantly, Faster load speed means makes it sure that more people will read the articles and thus it will result in more reader engagement. I also think that Facebook will give Instant Articles an advantage on user feed.
It doesn’t cost a dime and they keep the advertising money
More importantly, optimizing a website for fast load speed can cost money and resources, Facebook instant Articles are completely free to use. Publishers don’t even have to use any rocket science. Content can be published directly through the CMS of the website.
The other important factor is, publishers can show advertising in their articles be they native or tracking based. They can keep 100% of their ad-revenue. If they want, they can use Facebook to show ads. In this case, 30% of ad revenue will be kept by Facebook.
Keeping current market trends on mind, it makes a win-win situation for both.
With the introduction of Facebook Instant Articles, it will start a trend for its competitors. Others will also introduce some ways similar to Facebook to compete with the speed.
There can be one problem for publishers in future. When dozens of apps and services will be offering similar Article hosting services, it may become a pain in the ass for them to sign up for all of them and to optimize and publish for every app/platform.
Let that be their problem, for readers, it saves their times and makes the web less annoying.
What do you think about Instant Articles? Do you think that they will prove to be useful for Facebook? Share with other readers in the comments below.