MENLO PARK, Calif. – Facebook Inc. will open Instant Articles to all publishers in April 12, Product Manager Josh Roberts announced on a blog post Wednesday.

The platform initially became available for just nine selected publications in May 2015 and now hundreds already use it, but Instant Articles is likely to become totally widespread with the coming expansion.

Articles on the format load as much as 10 seconds faster than ordinary links, given that Facebook preloads them when users swipe down their News Feeds. This allows readers to have a better experience without leaving the social network site.

Photo: TheNextWeb
Photo: TheNextWeb

Publishers posting their stories on this format get to keep all of their ad revenue, as well as ad analytics systems. They also have full control over the look of their articles, according to Roberts.

“They can do all this while accessing a rich suite of multimedia tools to create dynamic, interactive stories, that will load quickly everywhere on Facebook, regardless of where in the world their readers are”, he wrote.

As part of Facebook’s efforts to provide a better user experience, Instant Articles is now available on Android devices. The new feature allows people to have Instant Articles in News Feed from more than 350 publishers worldwide, which means users won’t have to leave the site anymore if they want to read the news. The media content will be directly published to Facebook, which claims to load times 10-times faster than any external link. The functionality was first launched for iOS devices in October.

The format will include small media organizations and individual writers

The feature will not only be available to professional media organizations. Instant Articles will open up to publishers of all sizes, meaning that amateur writers, individual publishers and freelancers will be also able to share their content on Facebook.

The company will let them have access to similar revenue sharing options that are currently offered to professional media organizations. Individual writers will just have to join the Audience Network on Facebook and have an active page on the site. Roberts wrote on the blog post on Wednesday that the social network employees have been getting feedback and working to improve the feature, as well as building new tools to open up Instant Articles to a wider range of publishers.

Instant Articles benefits users with low connectivity in the developing world

The company takes into account those users who live in developing countries where low connectivity is an issue. Facebook even has “2G Tuesdays” at the office, so that employees can experience slow data speeds and better understand how Facebook works in the developing world and come up with ideas that are suitable to the users affected by this problem.

Thanks to Instant Articles, users won’t have to waste time waiting for the articles to load because the stories that matter most to them are hosted within the app. Publishers will also benefit as they reach a much wider audience on Facebook, which is the largest driver of traffic to news sites. A study published in August by revealed that 43% of traffic comes from the social network site.

Source: Facebook Blog