June 16, 2016
Facebook‘s Instant Articles function allows publishers’ articles to be read within Facebook. It’s a faster way to consume news and stories within the social network, and it’s only been available to an increasing number of publishers. Now, brands are getting in on it.
Tech company Intel has started publishing to Instant Articles via it’s digital publication, “iQ by Intel.” Digiday has further information:
“‘Because most of iQ’s reach is from Facebook, Instant Articles was a natural fit,’ said Becky Brown, VP of digital marketing and media for Intel. IQ is planning to publish half its articles this way, and just like a traditional publisher, comparing the engagement rates with those of regular posts to evaluate whether to expand its use.”
‘The whole experience is better for users in general, but we’re taking it a little slow so we don’t overextend ourselves,’ Brown said.
Brown said the move to Instant grew out of several conversations Intel had with Facebook, and it builds on Intel’s long experience with Facebook, where it has long experimented with formats from dark posts to autoplay video to photo posts.”
The IQ by Intel website has already been blending the barrier between publishers and brands since its launch in 2012. The Intel-curated site publishes stories exploring entertaining ways that technology shapes the world. Since all its stories are presided over by the Intel brand, there’s no clear-cut separation of corporate interest from editorial integrity.
On the other hand, massive brands with a reputation to uphold will likely ensure that their articles are faultless. And it’s not like publishers today don’t face similar pressure from their corporate overlords: The Washington Post is unlikely to deeply question Amazon’s ever-growing empire. Just don’t look to brands for exposes on themselves.
Whatever the case, the future almost certainly contains many more brands-turned-publishers. Once, brands paid for native advertising. Now, they’ll cut out that middleman and instead compete with the same publishers they once cozied up to. Expect to see Red Bull break an extreme sports story before Vice, or McDonald’s competing with Coca-Cola to poach the best BuzzFeed employees. At least struggling writers can expect their new corporate overlords to pay well.
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