Facebook Instant Articles: Good news for publishers?

Video instant articles facebook

In April of this year, Facebook opened the gates of its Instant Articles feature, which now incorporates videos, to all publishers on the platform, regardless of size or location. Previously, the feature had only been open to a select group of major publishers, while Facebook perfected Instant Articles.

What exactly is this feature, and why use it? The simplest answer is speed, and the benefits it brings.

Facebook claims that Instant Articles load ten times faster than standard mobile web pages. This quicker loading leads to a couple impressive stats: users read an average of 20% more Instant Articles than mobile web articles and they are 70% less likely to leave an article unfinished.

Where does video fit?

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You’ll be happy to hear that Instant Articles aren’t text-exclusive spaces.
Any publisher utilizing the service can include videos in their Instant Articles. They even give you the option of having your video autoplay or not.

The feature is too new for there to be any definitive metrics on the general performance of videos  in Instant Articles. But given that users spend more time with Instant Articles, it’s a safe assumption that video included with one – especially at the top – will be watched.

A bit of debate

While the rapid load time and additional attention users pay to Instant Articles sounds like nothing but good news, there is some debate about what they mean for publishers. When a user reads an Instant Article, they never leave Facebook’s ecosystem, which means what may have once been traffic to a website is now just more time on Facebook.

A group of experts recently weighed in on the debate for Appticles. Wochit founder and CEO Dror Ginzberg offered this insightful, positive take on Instant Articles:

“Facebook Instant Articles can be incredibly beneficial to publishers who otherwise might lack the resources necessary to compete in the evolving media space. With the proliferation of mobile and the movement away from owned and operated websites, publishers need these platforms to get their content out to the places where audiences want it, quickly and with a consistent user experience. Emerging publishers like NowThis and Vox’ Circuit Breaker can even skip building their own destination, launching on the places where audiences already are.”

We’re inclined to agree – Instant Articles are poised to be a real boon to publishers, especially new voices entering the landscape. What do you think?

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