Back in May, Facebook announced its Instant Articles initiative – basically a program to get major publications like the New York Times, NBC News, and The Atlantic to let Facebook host their content.
Since then, Facebook has published a handful of these native Instant Articles. Now, it's about to ramp up.
The Wall Street Journal quotes the ubiquitous sources familiar with the matter who say that you could start seeing way more of these Instant Articles on your handheld screens as early as this week.
From the WSJ:
The New York Times is ready to publish about 30 articles per day directly to Facebook’s news feed and the Atlantic is prepared to make most of its content available through the program, the people said. Both outlets are prepared to start publishing as early as Thursday, but are waiting for when Facebook is ready. NBC News plans to post between 30 and 40 articles a day to the stream in the coming days, one of the people familiar with the matter said.
So, what are Instant Articles 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.
In terms of revenue, publishers can sell their own ads and keep 100% of revenue they sell, or they can just let Facebook do it and split it 70/30. Facebook's initial nine partners for the initiative are The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild.