Facebook Innovates with Instant Articles
May 15, 2015
May 15, 2015
Facebook just launched its newest feature, called Instant Articles. This will allow users to spend less time waiting for a publisher’s website to load. Instead, publishers will be able to upload their content directly to Facebook.
The project hosts articles from various media outlets on Facebook’s site; a way to skip lagging downloads and to make media outlets more entrenched in the Facebook ecosystem. Launch partners are diverse; from Buzzfeed to The New York Times to National Geographic. The current list also includes NBC News, The Atlantic, The Guardian, and BBC News.
According to Facebook, the main goal of Instant Articles is to enhance the reader’s mobile experience. This is accomplished through faster loading times and more interactive features – including photo zooming and animated maps. Facebook claims that the shift is focused on giving publishers more control, but some disagree.
This Instant Article project makes Facebook’s true objective very clear: retaining users. By embedding content from media outlets – not just status updates from hometown acquaintances – Facebook makes itself necessary again. Even more so if any of these articles are exclusive to the Instant Article platform.
Facebook is not the first social media network to integrate media outlets and journalism on a greater level. A few months ago, Snapchat rolled out its Discover program, which allows a handpicked group of publishers to post interactive articles via the app. Similarly, LinkedIn grants users greater visibility on the network when articles and blog posts are published through its native Pulse platform.
Although it’s not incredibly unique, Facebook’s Instant Article platform may be the most effective. Snapchat’s Discover feature has remained largely underutilized and LinkedIn is still a relatively small network. Facebook, the behemoth of social media, has the opportunity to root itself even deeper into our lives.
In a time when young people are flocking to other networks like Snapchat and Instagram, Facebook has to play catch-up if it doesn’t want to become the next MySpace. Instant Articles is Facebook’s latest effort to adapt to its changing user demographics and stay in the game.