On September 12, Facebook announced that Instant Articles would no longer load within Messenger. The articles were available for just over a year – why did Facebook change, and what will this mean for publishers?
Similar to Google’s AMP Project, Facebook Instant Articles are an attempt to speed up the mobile web. The articles are said to load up to 10 times faster than traditional articles, and give publishers access to a wider audience.
In an email, Facebook announced it was removing support for Instant Articles in Messenger. Facebook’s spokesperson said that “ in order to have the greatest impact on people and publishers — we’re focusing our investment in Instant Articles in the Facebook core app.”
The IA platform has had many issues since being launched in 2015. Facebook maybe believed that Messenger integration would give the platform a much-needed boost. But it looks as though this wasn’t the case. But has the change come about because of poor performance, or an adaptation to changing tastes?
In his piece for Marketing Land, Tim Peterson suggests that the statement from Facebook “indicated that Messenger is looking for publishers to present news in a way that’s more specific to the messaging service”. Perhaps, even, Facebook might be planning on adjusting Stories to create an IA-powered news discovery channel via Messenger. Or chatbots might play a bigger role in keeping users updated with the news that they care about.
If Facebook are taking one of those paths, they will be in good company: Google is working on an AMP-powered Snapchat Discover clone that will give publishers the ability to share news stories with their audiences using a blend of images, video, and text. Maybe a shift toward this trend is a sign that publishers should be considering how to share their content in new ways.
It will be fascinating to see how this change impacts both Messenger and Instant Articles going forward. We will keep you updated – be sure to subscribe to our newsletter using the form below.