Facebook has rolled-out the much speculated tool allowing publishers to publish direct to the social network.
In an announcement from its newsroom, Facebook explained that is has updated its web article format and has created Instant Articles, which it claims offers publishers new ways to publish and generate revenue.
In the post Facebook said: “We designed Instant Articles to give publishers control over their stories, brand experience and monetisation opportunities. Publishers can sell ads in their articles and keep the revenue, or they can choose to use Facebook’s Audience Network to monetise unsold inventory. Publishers will also have the ability to track data and traffic through comScore and other analytics tools.”
It is understood that there will be split between ad revenue generated by Facebook’s Audience Network and publishers, however Facebook has no information about the agreements at this stage.
As part of the launch Facebook is working with nine partners for the service: The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild.
Buzzfeed released a corresponding blog addressing some of the issues publishers may have with the service.
Facebook's publishing eco-system has been previously criticised for allowing Facebook to dominate yet more of audiences time and traffic, and grow its own platform by riding on the coat tails of publishers content.
The post outlines that Buzzfeed is moving more towards being platform agnostic as long as the platform it publishes on creates a good experience for the user, Buzzfeed gets data and insights back, and it's able to build a great business and Buzzfeed believes Instant Articles provides that.
“When Facebook approached us and other publishers in 2014, they were clear that building a product like Instant Articles would be a collaborative effort. When we expressed the three core values above, and provided a list of things we would need to be a part of this new product, we were able to work together collaboratively over a number of months to deliver on those priorities,” the post said.
Buzzfeed also addressed the question of what it means for the wider publishing ecosystem.
“First, Facebook made it clear to us that they support the open web and value cross-network sharing. That means you’ll be able to share an instant article you see in Facebook’s app to other social networks, and when you do, the address that gets shared is the article’s URL on BuzzFeed.com.
“Second, BuzzFeed editors won’t have to worry about an additional step of uploading content to another CMS. This will happen seamlessly on our platform. We will continue to publish to our site as usual, and our content will be enhanced and native in the Facebook app.”
While there are no specifics regarding the Australian market in the announcement, both Buzzfeed and The Guardian have a strong local presence and could have the capabilities to bring Instant Articles to Facebook in the coming months.
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