Recently, Facebook partnered with developers and major news and media sources to create a new feature that makes the sharing of articles even easier and more effective for publishers.
This feature is called Facebook Instant Articles, which provides instant access of articles to users without the need to leave the Facebook app.
As described by Facebook, “publishers of any type, anywhere in the world can deliver an incredibly fast and immersive reading experience” with Instant Articles.
So, if you’re curious about what’s going on behind the scenes with Instant Articles, or you’re simply eager to get it set up for your own brand, this post will get you on the right track.
How Facebook Instant Articles work
First, a little history lesson.
Ever since the early days of Facebook, articles were being shared on the platform in great numbers, via links to external sources. Some of these sources were slow to load, or wouldn’t load at all, or were difficult to navigate.
Facebook decided there had to be a better way to keep people engaged with published content while also delivering a fast, effortless user experience.
Thus, Instant Articles were born.
According to Facebook, Instant Articles load 10 times faster, 20% more Instant Articles are read, and users are 70% less likely to abandon the article. While these stats are vague, they come directly from the source and sound pretty impressive at least on the surface.
In essence, Facebook Instant Articles now allows publishers to publish articles on Facebook which load very quickly for users of the Facebook app. Instant Articles also provides creative tools to like autoplay video to enhance the article and offers monetization opportunities and tracking.
And the best part is that this program is now open for all publishers.
Facebook Instant Articles offers benefits for many parties. Let’s take a closer look at what they are.
Facebook – First and foremost, Facebook Instant Articles keep users on Facebook for longer periods of time, which leads to higher user retention. Additionally, this new format can improve the click-through rates and increase ad impressions which make Facebook advertising more effective and valuable. The articles hosted by Facebook, give Facebook more content ownership online and help them compete in the market against other digital publishing powerhouses.
Publishers – Publishers benefit because publishing is streamlined with the use of Facebook’s online editor or the use of a secure RSS feed with allows for automation. Publishers can also place their own ads, or Facebook’s ads, in the article for extra earnings. Once published, publishers can benefit from the increased sharing that occurs by users when articles are published through Facebook Instant Articles vs. mobile web pages. They can also gain insight into article and ad performance using the analytics features.
Content Marketers – Facebook Instant Articles gives marketers access to a wider audience. It allows for rich media to be embedded in articles to increase engagement. It also allows for faster loading of ads which means more impressions. When it comes to tracking post activity and engagement, it is easier than ever to optimize articles for the most earnings.
Facebook Users – Publishers and marketers aren’t the only ones that will benefit from this new program. Facebook users will notice faster loading times when they click on Facebook Instant Articles. The feature also makes it easier to share articles with friends.
How to get started
1. If you’re a publisher and you’re ready to take advantage of this feature, you first need to head over to Facebook Instant Articles and register.
2. Once you do so, you can access the tools from your Facebook page. You will want to give your team members roles so they have access to the tools as well.
3. Then download the app: Facebook Pages Manager so you can preview and test your instant articles.
4. Next, claim your URL and create your style templates.
5. Once that is set, format your articles, choose which publishing platform you want to use, and connect the article to your Facebook Page. If your content is hosted on a WordPress blog (like mine), this is made even easier thanks to awesome plugins such as this one.
6. You will also want to set up ads (optional) and analytics, and make sure that you are in line with the Facebook Instant Article Policies and Guidelines.
7. Lastly, you will need to submit
50 10 5 articles for review by Facebook (yes, that number was lowered significantly by Facebook shortly after launch, and then lowered again, according to their documentation).
8. Once approved, publish away!
Now, that was a very rough overview of the process, so for full details, visit this site.
Ready, set, publish
Facebook Instant Articles provides faster loading, more engagement, easy integration, and monetization opportunities. Though publishers must get approval before participating in the program—an effort implemented by Instant Articles to ensure that the content is always from reputable sources—it is certainly worth the effort to check it out.