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Facebook will soon be showing more ads more frequently in Instant Articles

Why it matters to you

Facebook's Instant Articles offers an easy way to get news directly from Facebook, and now publishers may be a bit happier about this arrangement with the addition of more ad opportunities.

They’ve had a rocky relationship, to be sure, full of ups and downs and accusations and codependence, but it looks like publishers and Facebook may soon be on their way to a slightly more mutually beneficial situation. In a blog post this week, Facebook announced an “update to monetization in Instant Articles,” allowing publishers greater customization options when it comes to inserting ads within individual articles.

“We’re making improvements to our Automatic Ads Placement feature and introducing flexibility so that ads can be placed more frequently in articles, now up to every 250 words,” Facebook product manager Harshit Agarwal wrote on Thursday. This ups the frequency from the previous limit of every 350 words.

MoreFacebook now lets select publishers curate multiple Instant Articles in one post

This, Facebook hopes, will appease media companies that rely upon ads (much as Facebook does) as a major revenue stream. Should publishers choose to manually select and place video or static ads, they’ll be allowed to keep 100 percent of the money. Should they opt for Facebook’s automatic ad placement option, they’ll get 70 percent instead.

“As part of the Facebook Journalism Project we’ve been in ongoing conversations with the news industry to better serve the needs of publishers and people engaged in news on Facebook,” Agarwal noted. “We’ve heard from publishers that having more flexibility and control over their business strategies on our platform is important.”

Of course, Instant Articles has long been a sore spot for publishers, as it prevents readers from seeing native ads and other articles, or generally browsing the publisher’s site, keeping them instead on Facebook. Hopefully, these latest updates will serve as something of a compromise between the world’s primary traffic referrer and the news sources of the world.

Concluded Agarwal, “Looking ahead, we’re working with our partners to explore additional ad placements and formats within Instant Articles that drive revenue for publishers and performance for advertisers while maintaining a great reading experience.”