A race to structure – Google AMP, Facebook Instant Articles & Apple News (what you should know)

Three major channels are making strides to normalize the format and structure of web content presented through their user interface.  The content they seek to normalize resembles content like articles & blog posts, or content marketing in general.

The analogy for this evolution is the concept of tract homes; i.e. there are three models, or structures, to choose from.  You can modify the content, but not the floorplan.


Facebook’s ‘Instant Articles’ have been live for a while.  The New York Times and The Guardian have been delivering their content to Facebook to play nice within the Facebook UI.

Apple News was unveiled in June.  Apple News brought the promise of visually stunning content in a consistent manner to their devices through a native app.  As publishers we simply needed to register and follow the rules and formatting.

Google announced earlier this month they were joining and promoting the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project or AMP Project for short.  The concept of AMP, Instant Pages and Apple News all share the same goal – fast loading (less than a second), consistently formatted, distributed content.


Google's AMP Pages
Google’s AMP Pages
Facbook's Instant Articles
Facbook’s Instant Articles
Apple News Article
Apple News Article

Will three sets of platforms requirements last?

Likely yes.

These three behemoths of digital all have enough clout and stubbornness to sit and wait for the market to either a) fall in line or b) alienate one channel so significantly they are forced to acquiesce to another.

Considerations for the marketer

These three models embody the create once, publish everywhere concept. The good news is these models, once technically and editorially planned for, should impact our jobs very little.  That said, there will be changes to your workflow and creation processes which you should document.

These three platforms are asking for slightly different structures of code and content but all are remarkably similar.  With attention paid to these differences anyone should be able to slightly modify their content creation process to conform to the requirements.

Considerations for the engineer

Your current CMS is already publishing the content.  So the good news is the data model is already there.  In order to comply with each platform, simply create a new page which structured according to the platform model. Slot in the hooks appropriately and you should be good.

The original content page should leverage the <link> tag and indicate where and what type of content exists at a different location.  For each secondary HTML asset for the same piece of content, use the <canonical> tag and reference back to the original.

You should consider delivering the content (HTML and all) to the platforms own hosting system.  Facebook offers this and Google will in February.  Though this option doesn’t guarantee better ranking or performance, it can’t hurt.  It will also demand being in compliance with their lowest level requirements, which can only be a good thing.

Interested in getting even more information? Check out these pages.

Interested in getting our POV on whether or not you should consider enabling these structures for your own published content?  Reach out to us.  We’d be happy to chat!


Facebook Instant Articles

Apple News Dev Page

Google Blog on Amp

AMP Project Website