Facebook’s annual F8 conference always features new product and feature announcements, as well as a glimpse into the evolution of the largest social platform in the world. In its 9th year, the event kicked off with a keynote presentation from CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who outlined the company’s 10-year technology roadmap.
There were several interesting announcements, here are a few of our favorites:
- Facebook Live API
- Virtual Reality
- Bots for Facebook Messenger
- Sponsored Chats
- Facebook Surround 360
- Facebook Analytics for Apps updates
- Quote Sharing
- Save Button
- Satellites and airplanes
Facebook also reported that the publishing platform, Instant Articles, which debuted last spring, will now be open to all publishers. The Instant Articles format loads articles within the Facebook interface. This is faster and more efficient for users while keeping them within the Facebook platform. Publishers can directly sell ads within the article interface, keeping 100% of the profit, or with the help of Facebook, in exchange for 30%.
According to the website for Facebook’s Instant Articles, leveraging the same technology used to display photos and videos seamlessly within the Facebook app, articles will now load faster within the news feed. This leads to better results for marketer, claims Facebook: “The fast, immersive reading experience inspires people to share Instant Articles 30% more often than mobile web articles on average, amplifying the reach of your stories in News Feed”. On the heels of the original announcement last year, Google and Apple both rushed to market with similar products. Google introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages last fall, which promises to change the typical slow and clunky mobile article reading experience. Apple, for their part, quietly killed off Newsstand, replacing it with the Flipboard style News app.
As stated on the Facebook Developers site, there is a bit of coding and set up work required. Important to note, articles on Facebook can be tracked using traditional web analytics tools including Google Analytics. Also, publications delivered using Instant Articles are not favored in the News Feed and are treated just like any other news items. This Quickstart guide offers publishers a step by step to getting started.
While Instant Articles is being touted as an easy-to-use tool that is available to all publishers from the New York Times to small local newspapers, there are some rules which might weed out the small local pubs.
- 50 Articles: Publishers must have at least 50 articles in their library prior to submitting for review.
- Submit For Review: Instant Articles team will review and provide feedback within 24-48 hours.
- Resubmit, If Needed: Resolve any feedback violations and resubmit.