Facebook’s Instant Articles are now available to Android users worldwide. The feature has been available to iOS users since May 2015, and has been in beta for Android since October. Instant Articles allows publishers to host articles on Facebook’s own servers, that lets it load faster. This cuts down on the time users have to wait to read an article, and Facebook says that this increases the chances for it to be shared. The company also offers publishers an option to sell the ad space within an article themselves, or let Facebook share the ad space and then split the revenue.
Facebook's Instant Articles Product Manager, Michael Reckhow, told BuzzFeed News, “This program is now on Android which really just completes the major mobile platforms that publishers want to reach around the world.” He added, “With this scale, it’s going to be really exciting to see the engagement that publishers are getting.”
More than 350 publishers are currently using Instant Articles from around the globe, and the feature is also available in India. It was introduced in the country last month, and features posts from a select few publications, with Facebook planning to include more publications in the future. Facebook’s Andy Mitchel said that the feature will help users who experience low connectivity as well those using 2G networks. According to him, the USP of Instant Articles is its load time, and by using Facebook’s technology, users will be able to open and read articles almost instantly. Mitchel said, “the idea is to enhance people’s experience on Facebook to read articles and to solve problem of people consuming content on Facebook due to limited or slow connectivity in emerging markets which present great opportunity.”
However, being a part of the Instant Articles program isn’t all good news. Publishers had complained of their ability to make money from their own articles that was being hindered by Facebook’s restrictions on ad volume, although Facebook has eased the restrictions a little, since then.
Source: BuzzFeed News