Facebook launched Instant Articles last week as a way for publishers (nine invited guests so far*) to create fast, interactive articles on their platform.
*The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild.
This seems like an obvious way to keep users on the app longer. Make it more "sticky" as they say. But let's not forget that Facebook is first and foremost a business, and most businesses are in the business of making money. (The three mentions of "business" in that sentence is in no way a ploy for SEO purposes.)
"We designed Instant Articles to give publishers control over their stories, brand experience and monetization opportunities," explains Michael Reckhow, Product Manager, Facebook. "Publishers can sell ads in their articles and keep the revenue, or they can choose to use Facebook's Audience Network to monetize unsold inventory."
Google had already announced something similar with the Digital News Initiative, a partnership with European publishers (eight invited guests so far*) to, "support high quality journalism through technology and innovation."
*The Financial Times, Les Echos, NRC Media, El Pais, La Stampa, Faz, Die Zeit, The Guardian.
What's the future of journalism and publishing as more media outlets jump on the bandwagon for the ride?
Herb Communications has no idea. Only time will tell as more media pundits weigh in on the developments. I'll be watching closely and weighing opinions to help clients get a handle on what it may mean for their brand.