Facebook Instant Articles is a great way to publish quality interactive content right from within Facebook’s native publishing platform. It allows you to tell great stories that load quickly on mobile and provide an amazing user experience. Why is it important? According to Facebook, Instant Articles receive 20% more clicks and are 30% more likely to be shared than mobile web articles on news feed. Here’s the complete guide to Facebook Instant Articles that you can use to engage with your target audience and grow visitors to your website.
What are Facebook Instant Articles?
Facebook Instant Articles are mobile-optimized articles that contain stories, posts, photos and videos posted from Facebook’s Native Publishing Platform. Publishers can choose which articles to be published as Instant Articles on Facebook. When people view Instant Articles, they can read the entire article without leaving the Facebook App, in a format similar to that present on the publisher’s website.
You can also read 9 Best Tips to Increase Facebook Engagement
How to Create Facebook Instant Articles?
Here are the steps to create Facebook Instant Articles:
1. Sign up for Instant Articles
You need to visit http://instantarticles.fb.com/ and sign up for Facebook Instant Articles Program. Please note, in order to enable Instant Articles, you need to have a Facebook Page with Admin or Editor role on the page. If you don’t have a Facebook Page, here’s how you can create a Facebook Business Page.
2. Select your Facebook Page
Next you need to select which Facebook Page you need to activate Instant Articles for.
3. Claim your URL
Once you’ve chosen a Facebook Page, you need to provide a URL that you want to use for all your Instant Articles. It basically means that the posts present on this URL will be used to create Instant Articles. In most cases, it will be your blog URL. To claim your URL, you need to add the URL to your Instant Articles settings and add a meta tag to your HTML’s head tag. You’ll find this meta tag in your Instant Articles settings. You simply have to copy paste it into your web page.
4. Create Instant Articles
Facebook has made it really easy to publish Instant Articles on its publishing platform. You can directly publish Instant Articles from your blogging platform such as WordPress or Content Management System, without actually re-creating the article on Facebook. Think of it like an RSS Feed aggregator for your blog or website.
In fact, you can sync your blog posts with Instant Articles using various Facebook publishing tools, an RSS Feed or even using an API. Let’s look at each option below in detail:
1. Connect Facebook Instant Articles to WordPress
If your blog is powered by WordPress, you can simply use the WordPress Plugin for Instant Articles that allows you to connect your blog to your Facebook Page and publish Instant Articles. You’ll also be able to see the status of your Instant Articles submission.
2. Using Publishing tools
Facebook has created Publishing Tools for Instant Articles by partnering with leading publishing platforms such as Drupal, Medium, Atavist, Perk Distributed, ShareThis, RebelMouse, Steller, Sovrn, Tempest.
3. Using RSS Feed
As mentioned earlier, Facebook’s native publishing platform is like an RSS feed aggregator. So you can naturally connect your content to it using an RSS feed.
An RSS Feed seamlessly integrates with Facebook and automatically syndicates new posts as Instant Articles whenever you publish a new post.
To connect your RSS feed, you must configure your blogging platform or CMS to generate a new RSS feed with the full content of each new post, using Instant Article Markup.
4. Publish Facebook Instant Articles via API
Facebook provides an awesome API that enables you to publish, update & delete instant articles programmatically from your content management system or blogging platform. Here’s how you can set up Facebook API for Instant Articles.
5. Customize Styling
Facebook also provides formatting options to customize the font styling of your Instant Articles. During setup, you can upload a logo and select the font style to be used for your article. Currently, the only font options available are Helvetica Neue and Georgia.
6. Submit your article for Review
Once you’ve setup Instant Articles for your blog or website, you can submit your feed for review to Facebook. Typically they verify if your articles are properly formatted for Instant Articles and approve it within 24-48 hours.
Benefits of Facebook Instant Articles
Here are 5 amazing benefits of using Facebook Instant Articles:
1. Facebook Instant Articles Ads & Revenue
Publishers can make money by selling the Ad space in their content. In this case, Facebook gives publishers 100% of revenue.
Facebook also allows publishers to leverage its Facebook Audience Network to display Facebook Ads in their content. In this case, Facebook keeps 30% of revenues. To enable it, you can opt-in to Facebook Audience Network Ads while setting up your Instant Articles feed.
2. No separate Facebook posts for Instant Articles
When you publish an Instant Article, it doesn’t create a separate Facebook post on your page. Instead, when a user clicks your URL article on Facebook, it is displayed as an Instant Article without opening up a mobile browser tab.
3. Improved load speed
Instant Articles load 10 times faster than mobile web articles which leads to 20% more clicks and 70% less abandonment. Faster load times are incredibly important to grab user attention and increase readership.
4. You can control your content
Once you’ve set up Instant Articles for your blog or website, you can completely control which articles to publish or re-publish as Instant Articles on Facebook. You can control your content from your Instant Articles Library, that you can access by clicking Publishing Tools on your Facebook Page and clicking Instant Articles from the menu on the left side. This is what Instant Article Library looks like. You can use it to edit, and publish articles.
5. Capture emails from Instant Articles
You can also add email sign up forms to capture reader emails right from your Instant Articles. This will allow publishers to easily communicate with readers, send them latest newsletters and articles.
Facebook Instant Articles is an amazing way to publish your content and increase readership of your blog or website. Their native publishing platform provides a rich set of features to publish interactive articles on mobile that deliver an awesome user experience. What remains to be seen is if it drives more traffic to your website and improves conversions. Hopefully this guide help you understand how to use Facebook Instant Articles and use it to grow your business.
What do you think? Have you used Facebook Instant Articles?