Facebook has begun testing its Instant Articles with nine publishers participating: America's National Geographic, The Atlantic, The New York Times, NBC News and Buzzfeed; and Europe's The Guardian, Bild, BBC News, and Spiegel Online:
While it's widely viewed as a Trojan Horse, this infographic of Facebook Instant Articles' perks shows why it might prove irresistible to publishers.
In the oh-so-quotable words of Contently's Editor in Chief: "This isn’t just a Trojan horse; this is a Trojan horse draped in gold chains and being ridden by Beyoncé. Even if you can see the outline of the hatch on the wooden belly, it’s hard not to open the gates."
The good news is that Facebook has so far been cooperative with the publishers. The company's product manager, Michael Reckhow, says: "We designed Instant Articles to give publishers control over their stories, brand experience and monetization opportunities."
However, Facebook is known for changing its algorithms, so it's not far-fetched to wonder if it might, in the future, change its terms to gain more control as publishers increasingly depend on the network's traffic.
Guess who else is worried? Google might feel challenged with the potential loss of traffic. But if it follows suit as some fear, publishers, online businesses and virtually anyone who gains income from an online presence will have an even bigger problem.
While Instant Articles only affects news publishers for now, content companies must prepare and plan how to integrate this into their social media strategy inthe future. After all, the aim of becoming a smarter content marketer means being on the lookout for industry changes that could affect your content strategy, and learning when and how to adapt.