It has been almost a month since Facebook opened their Instant Articles to all publishers and after trying them out, I am happy to say that I find them to be useful and can potentially increase engagement for everyone participating.
So what are Facebook’s Instant Articles?
The Instant Articles are Facebook’s version of Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and are designed to load posts and articles from your website instantaneously on the Facebook mobile app. You basically upload an optimized HTML version of your post onto Facebook’s servers and it is served any time a person opens the post from the mobile application.
The main pro of the Instant Articles is the better user experience, people won’t have to navigate away from the Facebook app, the post will open in than a second so that they can start reading right away, and Facebook offers a lot of interesting style options you can use to make your posts look amazing on mobile devices. Instant Articles also have integrated like and comment options and publishers can implement Facebook’s ad audience network and receive part of the ad revenue.
The biggest drawback of simply sending people to your responsive website or mobile version is that you get limited functionality (at least for now) with the Instant Articles as they follow a strict design style which doesn’t include a menu to send people to other parts of your website or any lead generation tools like contact forms or newsletter signup. Facebook are currently testing adding more functionality but for the time-being, you would have to get creative with your call-to-actions after they have read your post.
Another slightly less important con is the fact that people don’t actually visit your website and Facebook keeps the traffic to themselves but the improved user experience will more than make up for that especially if you have a great call-to-action which takes people to your website either way.
Now that you’ve decided to use Facebook’s Instant Articles, how can you do that?
Just go to Instant Articles’ website and click on Sign up. You will be offered to select the Facebook page you want to enable Instant Articles for and click on Access Instant Articles Tools. You will then be redirected to the Publishing Tools of the Facebook page in question where you need to finish the configuration of the Instant Articles.
You will first need to claim your website’s URL by entering a code in its <head> tag. After that you would need to either set up a Production RSS feed which will import the content from your website automatically or create your own posts in the Production subsection of the Instant Articles section in the Publishing Tools. You can also set up Facebook Audience Network to display ads in your posts and configure the styles you are going to use. You can use the default style but you would have to upload a logo to be used alongside your posts.
To set up a Production RSS feed, there are several integrations with popular content management systems already created. The most popular of them are with WordPress and Drupal but there are many more. To find if there is integration with your system or how to implement an automatic feed, check out this helpful page from the Facebook Developers website.
After you have looked through all the settings and have 10 articles uploaded, you should submit them to Facebook for review. It can take up to a week for them to approve your submissions but once approved you won’t have to do it again and you can upload and publish as many Instant Articles as you want.
Now, every post from your website which is shared to Facebook and has a published Instant Article will open the Instant Article when clicked on from Facebook’s mobile app.
I hope you found this information helpful and will decide to give Facebook Instant Articles a try. If you have any questions or want to share your experience with the Instant Articles, please, leave us a message in the comment section below. I’d also love it if you shared this post with anyone that might find it useful as well and don’t forget the check our Instant Articles on WebHostFace’s Facebook Page.