Facebook announced a potentially disruptive new feature called Instant Articles this past May. As the name suggests, these sponsored news posts are designed to load incredibly fast – up to 10 times as fast as a typical news post – and include dynamic features such as clickable maps and audio snippets.
The feature launched at that time albeit in a very limited beta. According to The Wall Street Journal, Instant Articles were initially only shown to five percent of iOS mobile users in the US.
Facebook is now ready for a proper rollout.
The social network revealed on Tuesday that all Facebook for iPhone app users will now see Instant Articles in their News Feed. Such articles are designated by a lightning bolt logo in the top right corner of the story.
As of today, there are more than a dozen publishing partners providing Instant Articles including The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, MTV, The Huffington Post and The Washington Post.
Facebook Product Manager Michael Reckhow said additional publishers will be added in the coming weeks including Billboard, Bleacher Report, CNET, Mashable, MLB, The Onion, Time, The Verge and others.
There’s a lot at stake here both for Facebook and more importantly, web publishers. Although the program offers content creators a share of ad revenue, not having users click through to their site could have a major impact on a publication’s ability to build and maintain its brand and sell ad space to advertisers.
Instant Articles will be coming to Android later this year with a public beta scheduled to launch next week.