Facebook Instant Articles is a new feature for web publishers from Facebook. Here’s a run down of the 5 things that you need to know.
1. Shows Articles Within the Facebook Mobile App
Traditionally, when a user clicked an article that you posted to your Facebook page, they would go to your website to view the article. With Facebook Instant Articles, when a user clicks on one of your articles from within the Facebook Mobile App, they are shown the article within the Facebook Mobile App.
- Works on iPhone and Android devices.
- Is seemless for users
- Is up to 10 times faster than content served through a mobile browser (Facebook accomplishes this by buffering the content before the user clicks it and by not having to render your site, just the article content).
- The Facebook App shows a small lightning bolt icon in the top right of the article’s featured image if the article is available via Instant Articles.
- Desktop and browser (non app) users will continue to be directed to your website.
2. Requires your Site to Have a Custom Feed
Rather than submitting your articles to Facebook, with Facebook Instant Articles, Facebook will regularly pull your feed and automatically add new articles to your Facebook page.
- Facebook pulls from your feed, you no longer need to push your articles to Facebook
- The Instant Articles Feed format is based on RSS but requires certain non-standard elements (a standard RSS feed won’t work).
3. There’s a WordPress Plugin For It!
A couple of weeks ago (March 7th, 2016), Automattic, the makers of WordPress launched a new Plugin called Facebook Instant Articles for WP. This plugin adds a special feed at /feed/instant-articles. You can submit this feed “endpoint” to Facebook when you enroll in Facebook’s Instant Articles program.
- You will need to install a special plugin (such as Facebook Instant Articles for WP) to add Facebook Instant Article support to your WordPress site.
- Other CMS systems will likely have their own Facebook Instant Articles plugins. If you have any info about these, please post it to the comment section below.
4. Allows You to Serve Your Own Ads
Facebook wants to make Instant Articles a win for Facebook, its mobile app users and for the publishers generating the content. For this reason, they allow you to include your own ads within your feed.
- You can serve your own ads within the articles that you submit to Facebook Instant Articles.
- Ads need to be submitted through your Instant Articles feed in a special format.
- You can distribute your ad “tags” manually throughout your feed content or place your ad tags in the header to have Facebook place them throughout the article automatically.
- AdPlugg is currently adding support for Facebook Instant Article feeds and intends to fully support them by the time Facebook launches the feature (see below for the release date).
- If you don’t have your own ads, you can optionally choose to serve Facebook Audience Network ads within your articles.
- There are some restrictions regarding the type of ad and the “ad density” (number of ads that you can display). See the official documentation for more info.
- Some of the publishers already using Facebook Instant Articles have complained about ad revenue issues. Facebook is working to address those concerns.
5. Becomes available to all publishers on Apr 12th, 2016
Facebook Instant Articles is already in use by major publishers such as BuzzFeed and the Washington Post. On April 12th, 2016 Facebook Instant Articles becomes available to all publishers.
- Was launched for select major publishers on May 12th, 2015
- Launch for all publishers is scheduled for April 12th, 2016
How To Try Facebook Instant Articles
To try out Facebook Instant Articles, do the following:
- Open the Facebook app on your Android or iOS device.
- Use the built in search to find and pull the official page for BuzzFeed or the Washington Post.
- Click on any of the articles that have a lightning bolt in the top right corner of the article’s featured image.
- Enjoy the lightning fast load time :).
Facebook Instant Articles is an exciting new feature that provides an enhanced experience for the user while allowing publishers to gain exposure and grow ad revenues.
AdPlugg is adding support for Facebook Instant Articles as we speak and we are tying the functionality into our WordPress Ad Plugin.
If you have any questions or comments about Facebook Instant Articles, AdPlugg’s support for them, or anything else; please post them to to the comments section below!
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