Facebook Rolls Out Instant Articles To All iPhone Users, Says Android Support Is Coming Soon
Facebook's effort to speed the mobile news reading experience is picking up steam. Thousands of Instant Articles are being published daily by 14 outlets, with a big list of new partners coming on board in the coming weeks.
Five months after introducing faster-loading “Instant Articles” to the News Feed, Facebook’s rollout of the enhanced mobile news reading format is picking up steam.
The company announced today that thousands of Instant Articles are being published daily, and they will now be visible to all users of Facebook’s iPhone app. Android support is coming later this year, with a public beta test starting today.
You’ll know you’ve bumped into an Instant Article when you see a lightning bolt in the top right corner of stories in your News Feed.
Instant Articles load 10 times faster than standard links on the mobile Web, Facebook said, and in testing, they have tended to be shared more often by Facebook users.
That’s an attractive combination, and it’s the major reason publishers are scrambling to join the Facebook program after years of counting on the social network to drive traffic to their sites. There’s a fear of being left behind with slow-loading links that readers give up on and move on to the next publisher. Apple, with the Apple News app in iOS 9, and Google, with Accelerated Mobile Pages, have competing systems that offer some of the same benefits, but Facebook has a head start and a daily audience of nearly one billion people.
Facebook’s program gives publishers the ability to track traffic using comScore, Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics. Publishers can also sell ads within Instant Articles and keep all revenue generated for ads they sell (If Facebook sells the ads, Facebook takes a 30 percent cut).
Publishers appear to be jumping on board. In today’s announcement, Facebook said 14 publishers — The New York Times, NBC News, The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, National Geographic, Cosmopolitan, The Daily Mail, Huffington Post, Slate, Vox Media, Mic, MTV News, The Washington Post and the Dodo — are already using the format.
In the coming weeks, they will be joined by a big list of new partners, including Billboard, Billy Penn, The Blaze, Bleacher Report, Breitbart, Brit + Co, Business Insider, Bustle, CBS News, CBS Sports, CNET, Complex, Country Living, Cracked, The Daily Dot, E! News, Elite Daily, Entertainment Weekly, Gannett, Good Housekeeping, Fox Sports, Harper’s Bazaar, Hollywood Life, Hollywood Reporter, IJ Review, Little Things, Mashable, Mental Floss, mindbodygreen, MLB, MoviePilot, NBA, NY Post, The Onion, Opposing Views, People, Pop Sugar, Rare, Refinery 29, Rolling Stone, Seventeen, Time, Uproxx, US Magazine, USA Today, Variety, The Verge and The Weather Channel.