Facebook launched its fast-loading Instant Articles format in the spring of 2015, and Google followed with its version, Accelerated Mobile Pages, in early 2016. Both were an attempt to make webpages load faster. But while Instant Articles’ use has stagnated, AMP has only grown in importance to publishers.
Google launched the open-source AMP with news publishers, giving them a stripped-down way to formulate their pages so they’d load lightning fast and help them get surfaced in Google search results. Since then, AMP has been extended to all publishers. Their AMP pages now power other parts of Google’s ecosystem, including its mobile news app Newsstand and content suggestions in Google Chrome. Helped by Google’s lobbying power, AMP has been adopted by Reddit, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Flipboard.
Instant Articles, meanwhile, has fallen out of the conversation as Facebook increasingly prioritises video over text articles in its news feed. Several prominent publishers, including The New York Times and the Guardian, have stopped using Instant Articles altogether.
The mixed success of these two features, Instant Articles and AMP, speaks to a few things: The divergent business models of the competing tech giants, the importance of publishers to those models and the implications for publishers as they try to survive in a digital landscape that’s largely dictated by two tech giants.