The solution that Facebook launched in 2015 to provide faster loading experiences on mobile on media articles lives its last months. This is according to Axios, which has learned that Instant Articles will cease to be operational in mid-April next year. According to a company spokesperson, the format is “underutilized” in the context of the generalized improvements in mobile webs in recent years, which makes it obsolete in the current scenario. This declining usage is compounded by the fact that less than 3% of what people see on Facebook are posts with links to news.
These circumstances mark the decline of an alternative that was born almost at the same time as Google AMP with a very similar objective, and which in any case never enjoyed the same acceptance. The most important media were gradually abandoning Instant Articles mainly because it seriously affected the consumption of page views on their websites, by keeping the user within Facebook. And that reduced the monetization of some content, although in other cases the advertising served in the format itself improved the data for sections with a high bounce rate.
The format created in 2015 to offer faster mobile charging experiences will be cancelled as part of the company’s move away from news.
Another key to its gradual abandonment by the media is that the closed experience it offers is problematic at a time when they need to have greater control of their properties to optimize registrations, subscriptions and targeted advertising impacts. Instant Articles had recently incorporated greater recirculation capacity with more suggested content to increase commercial revenue, and those who continued to use them took special advantage of their modules for collecting emails or inviting users to download applications.
For Meta, the move is another step in its gradual withdrawal from news. Already in July the company reported internally that it would withdraw technical and product resources from the news tab to devote them to increasing its efforts to attract independent video creators in order to compete with TikTok. In addition, some specialized media point out that the company is going to reduce or eliminate its payments to media for this space once the agreements expire.
The media that have been using Instant Articles will have a six-month grace period to adapt to the new situation. From that date on, Facebook will send its users to the corresponding mobile sites.