For some time now, Facebook has been trying to find the next big thing to keep people inside of Facebook, while also appealing the rest of the outside web. With WhatsApp and Instagram under their wing, Facebook clearly holds a lot of clout in the online world these days, but much of the news and content that people view comes from outside of Facebook. To bring that content back into Facebook and appeal to online publishers, Facebook introduced their Instant Articles, a platform that allows for much faster page loads and importantly for a lot of publishers, 100% of their own ad revenue. Now, Facebook is opening this up to everyone and anyone that wants to offer their own Instant Articles.
The news comes hot on the heels of Facebook's F8 conference held this week, and will be music to the ear of many of a publisher. Facebook says that Instant Articles have certainly been a success with their opening partners, generating 20% more clicks than traditional mobile web page links and that these articles are 70% less likely to see their readers disappear to find something more interesting. This is perhaps down to the fact that Instant Articles can be as much as 10 times as fast as viewing a standard web page. For Facebook, Instant Articles are a win-win situation. This new form of content will keep people inside of the big blue app, and it will also bring recognizable content that people know and love to Facebook users.
For content publishers, the fact that this is now open to everyone could help them rethink the way they approach Facebook for clicks, views and shares. The big question of whether or not these Instant Articles will continue to bring in much-needed ad revenue is neatly settled by a landing page for the service detailing that publishers can "serve display ads that are directly sold by your own sales team and keep 100% of the revenue". This move can also be seen as a blow to Google as well, who has struggled with failures such as Google Currents which morphed into the less-than-revolutionary Play Newsstand. Those interested in getting their site signed up can take a look at Facebook's blog post linked below for more info.