Facebook has its focus on emerging markets when developing new products, noted product Chief Chris Cox on Tuesday. Speaking at WSJDLive, a global technology conference, Cox said the usage of Facebook in countries such as Indonesia, India, Thailand and Myanmar shapes the company’s road map. The service is popular in all these countries, but connections are often poor.
Focus on emerging markets
“Being an international company is about understanding and having more empathy for what we’re needed for,” Cox said. Instant Articles take ten times less time to load on mobile phones than standard articles, which makes it a useful feature for the developing countries.
“If you look at a Facebook user in Myanmar today, they can wait 40 seconds to a minute to look at what’s happening in Rangoon today. If we can lower that barrier, if we can lower that friction, it’s a huge service,” Cox said.
The social networker has more than 80% of its users outside the U.S. and Canada. The company intends to shore up connectivity in its fastest growing markets and has taken several steps in this direction in the last few years. With the goal of extending Web access to emerging markets, Facebook launched its controversial Internet.org program.
Facebook expanding the scope of Instant Articles
Facebook’s Instant Articles feature is now extended to all U.S. iPhone users, and the company has begun testing it on Android phones. On a daily basis, the social networker will offer 1,000 of those fast-loading articles on the site, and each will be identified with a lightning bolt icon within the Facebook News Feed, said Cox.
Content from 14 publishers, including the New York Times and BuzzFeed, is included in Instant Articles, and 28 more publishers will join in the coming weeks, including the New York Post, Billboard and CBS News, said Facebook. Many publishers are eager to join the program, hoping to gain more readers on mobile devices with the faster load times.
Along with grabbing new readers, publishers can make use of comScore, Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics to track data and traffic, the social networker said in a news release on Tuesday. Facebook has made a few enhancements to Instant Articles to make it a more regular part of the daily experience, Cox said.