Fairfax first on board Facebook's Instant Articles

Fairfax Media is the first local publisher to sign up for Facebook’s Instant Articles.

Instant Articles allows publishers to push news stories directly through the Facebook mobile app rather than linking to their own external websites. This enables them to load up to 10 times faster.

Following a move to a digital-centric newsroom this year and Fairfax’s Australian publications bolstering their digital offerings, Fairfax on both sides of the ditch will roll out Facebook-specific articles from today.

“With rapidly growing audiences on mobile, we’re excited – not just about a faster experience – but by being able to bring Stuff’s stories to life in new ways using the mobile-driven suite of Instant Articles’ interactive features,” Fairfax NZ group executive editor Sinead Boucher says

It was revealed last month that the 20 publishers using the platform overseas – including the Wall Street Journal and National Geographic – were concerned by their ability to monetise the platform as Facebook allowed only one ad per 500 words of content. Typically publishers will cram as many ads as they can into a single story.

Yesterday Facebook bowed to pressure from publishers, opening up more advertising opportunities for Instant Articles including the ability to place extra ads in each article, to buy Facebook ad campaigns and to link external content as “related articles.”

Fairfax communications manager Emma Carter says the articles are currently free from advertising to allow the ASX-listed company to understand traffic and results. 

"We are constantly looking at innovative ways to engage with our readers. Instant Articles is one example of this, improving the experience our readers have with our content, especially on mobile," she says.

The news comes in the same week as the Interactive Advertising Bureau has released its quarterly interactive advertising spend report. It revealed that mobile is the fastest growing medium, garnering revenue of $6.9 million in Q3 – a 97% year-on-year increase.  

Facebook could not be reached for comment on what the advertising model will look like for New Zealand publishers. NZME has been contacted for comment on whether it will be signing up to use the platform, which is currently available on iPhones.

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