Facebook bets on Google AMP integration to increase Instant Articles adoption

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 29 May 2017
Publishers aren't happy with the returns they are getting from Instant Articles

Facebook is rolling out new tools for publishers to make Instant Articles compatible with Google AMP and Apple News formats as a way to increase adoption of the format ater a number of media companies have pulled back.

Facebook introduced its Instant Articles format for publishers two years ago as a way to make loading content in the News Feed much faster, but the format hasn’t been adopted as widely as the social network had hoped.

AMP pages load almost instantaneously, get prime real estate in Google search and are widely more adopted than Facebook Instant Articles. Unlike AMP pages, Instant Articles keep the user on Facebook.

Publishers can sell ads in Instant Articles, so in theory there’s no loss of revenue opportunity, however if Facebook fills the ads it can take up to a 30% of the profit. The move from Facebook follows reports that publishers are frustrated with the Instant Articles format, with The Guardian pulling out completely and Fairfax cooling its use recently.

The feature was announced by Facebook as part of its ‘Journalism Project’ launched earlier this year, which aims to establish stronger ties between Facebook and the news industry.

Facebook says it has heard from publishers that supporting multiple formats like Google AMP, Apple News, and Instant Articles requires too much work.

Facebook’s solution is adding a new export option for publishers to use when creating Instant Articles that works with Google AMP and Apple News.

“This new flexibility with Instant Articles is part of our commitment to open standards of collaboration with the community.

Our goal is to give publishers control over extending and modifying the Instant Articles building blocks to be the best storytellers on every platform,” Facebook engineering director Piyush Mangalick said in a blog post.

Publishers will still need to put in the work to support Instant Articles, but Facebook is hoping that working with Google AMP and Apple News will win back publishers to the platform.

Google AMP support is live now, and Facebook says Apple News “will be ready in the coming weeks as we learn how these tools can best support our partners.”

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