In May, Facebook announced its Instant Articles initiative, and some of you may know that and some may have forgotten. It's not you fault – Facebook hasn't exactly pushed them down our throats. In fact, the company has been running a pretty small test with iOS users.
But that's about to change.
Here's a refresher on what Instant Articles are, exactly:
Facebook says they are “a fast and interactive experience for reading articles in News Feed” and “a tool for publishers to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook” while giving them “control over their stories, brand experience and monetization opportunities.”
Basically, news partners are allowing Facebook to publish their content, which will load up within Facebook – meaning users will not be traveling to The New York Times’ site to read the article. How does this affect referral traffic? It shouldn’t, at least according to Facebook.
“Instant Articles display within the Facebook app, so readers no longer redirect to the publisher’s website. Facebook worked with publishers and comScore to enable Instant Articles views in Facebook’s app to count as traffic to the original publishers, just as they do on the mobile web,” says the company.
Facebook says its Instant Articles load as much as 10 times faster than regular mobile web articles. Currently, they’re only appearing inside Facebook’s iOS app.
Now, per a post on the Facebook Developers' blog, you can expect to see the amount of Instant articles increase as Facebook is scaling up the program and has also signed a bunch of new publishing partners:
We have been testing Instant Articles for the past few months with a small percentage of people on Facebook who see new articles published each day from our launch publishers. This early testing phase allows us to get feedback from people and publishers before extending the program more broadly. Over the coming months we will be expanding the number of people in the Facebook app on iPhone who can see Instant Articles.
We are also announcing today that over a dozen additional partners are joining the program soon. We will bring additional publishers onboard in the coming months, and we look forward to extending the Instant Articles program in the future so that any content publisher or blog can create great article experiences on Facebook.
According to Re/code, those new partners are The Huffington Post, Mashable, MTV, Daily Mail/Elite Daily, Business Insider, Hearst, MLB, Complex, Bleacher Report, MoviePilot, Vox Media (which owns this website), Mic, Gannett, Time Inc., Refinery 29, Bustle, the Dodo, CBS Interactive, IJ Review, NBA and the Blaze.
And The Washington Post, which will apparently be running every story it publishes as a Facebook Instant Article – that's over a thousand stories a day.
Don't forget about Instant Articles. According to Facebook, they're still a very big part of its future.