In a recent blog post by Facebook, they announced that they have rolled out Instant Articles for its Messenger application. This feature, which was earlier available only on the main Facebook app, is now compatible with the Android version of Messenger and will be available on iOS ‘in a couple of weeks’, as stated by Facebook's Vice President of Messaging Products David Marcus in a Facebook post.
Unlike the typical articles that load in an in-app browser, Instant Articles load within the Facebook (and now Messenger) app instantly and don't direct users to the publisher's website. The social network began experimenting with the feature last year but this is the first time that the company has expanded the articles beyond the main Facebook app.
Since Instant Articles were launched, Facebook has found that the user reading experience has improved dramatically. As more and more users started using Messenger to share entertaining content and information, Facebook says it found scope for adding the Instant Articles feature. “If you’re a publisher that has enabled Instant Articles, we’ll render the Instant Articles version of your article, whenever its URL is shared in Messenger,” said Facebook in its post announcing the new update. One will be able to know if an article is an Instant Article because it will have a lightning bolt icon next to the link just like Instant Articles anywhere else on Facebook.
Facebook Messenger has become an increasingly important platform for the company with over 900 million monthly active users. The app already supports chat bots from businesses and the social network plans to transform the app further. Plus, given that the social media site has partnered with so many publishing firms across the world to boost Instant Articles, it makes sense to bring the feature to the Messenger app.
Facebook has become the de facto platform for many people to get their daily news and internal data has shown that personal sharing on the site has reduced with more articles and news links being shared by users. The reason behind launching Instant Articles was to ensure that a user could open a link much faster on Facebook. Additionally, a lot of personal sharing has also shifted to messaging apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp and, of course, Facebook Messenger.
Now that Facebook is bringing that same speed to article links shared via Messenger, this will and can only improve user experience.