October 20, 2015 Last Updated 1:42 pm

Instant Articles finds a new home inside the News Feed of Facebook’s iPhone app

Facebook’s limited number of media partners will now find their content built right into the News Feed, along with the advertising sold to be placed inside Instant Articles

This is a very logical move on the part of Facebook: Instant Articles is now integrated into the News Feed inside its iPhone app.

IA-notice-300“We’re excited to announce that everyone who uses the Facebook for iPhone app can now read thousands of Instant Articles every day in News Feed,” wrote Michael Reckhow, Product Manager, on Facebook (where else?)

“Starting today, people will see a lightning bolt on the top right corner of some stories shared in News Feed. The lightning bolt indicates it’s an Instant Article. When you tap the story, it loads ten times faster than a standard mobile web article.”

Facebook-IA-iPhoneThe move is one of those “duh” moves. Of course, that is where the articles belong.

Over and over, the tech companies have made the mistake of trying to get its customers to use new apps. The better solution, and one that media companies would feel better about, would be to tightly integrate the content into the existing, popular apps or systems. For instance, rather than create a new Apple News app, why not have access to that content built more directly into iOS 9? Instead, we have another app that even Apple appears to have lost interest in.

Reckhow listed examples of how Instant Articles will work inside the iPhone app:

  • Instant Articles from NBC News feature autoplay videos that come to life and begin automatically as readers scroll through the story.
  • The Atlantic’s photo blog in Instant Articles lets you zoom in and explore the details of high-resolution photos just by tilting your phone.
  • Readers can engage more deeply with BuzzFeed’s Instant Articles by liking and commenting on individual photos and videos throughout the story.
  • Beautiful photo galleries in Instant Articles from The New York Times are seamless to swipe through.
  • National Geographic’s Instant Articles let readers explore where the story happened with geo-tagged images that open interactive maps.

As other sites have mentioned, what this really is all about is delivering advertising that avoids the browser, and those pesky ad blockers. By lying within the Facebook app, the ad environment can be controlled more tightly to make sure users are delivered the advertising.

As for user experience, I’m a little doubtful will appreciate autoplay videos. Inside a NYT article on yesterday’s election in Canada, new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau begins a loud speech the second you scroll too are inside the article. Better mute your iPhone if you are going to use the Facebook app at work!

But one must admit that Facebook has advanced mobile news publishing with its Instant Articles far more than its competitors. While an offshoot of Paper, the content app that still is available, Instant Articles has moved on and continued to improve. The Paper app, on the other hand, has not been updated since March (and probably will never reach version 2.0).

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