#52 Facebook Instant Articles, Are You Ready?

By Gareth O’Sullivan, Social Media Executive (@_GarethG) Facebook, the home of 1.04 billion daily active users on average is releasing it’s new product “Instant Articles” to all publishers …

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By Gareth O’Sullivan, Social Media Executive (@_GarethG)

Facebook, the home of 1.04 billion daily active users on average is releasing it’s new product “Instant Articles” to all publishers globally on April 12th 2016, that’s in less than a week.

So what is an “Instant Article” ?

According to Facebook, an Instant Article is a HTML 5 document that is optimized more so for fast mobile performance, rich storytelling capabilities, branded design and customised visual display.

Credit: Facebook
Credit: Facebook

These articles appear instantly in your newsfeed allowing you to see the entire article without needing to click through to the site to read it, which means that they are more likely to be read.

Another great thing about these instant articles is that they have been optimised to have a better experience for readers, meaning they will display very fast, so you won’t need to worry about it taking a while to load. This will result in more users actually reading through your article.

If they like what they read, they may then proceed to your website to discover more of your content, click on your ads and potentially even become a customer.

Credit: Facebook
Credit: Facebook

What about engagement? Yeah, there’s bound to be a lot more of that. Readers are more likely to share, like and comment on your article, which will then increase your exposure and help you drive more traffic to your website.

Now, whilst there are many benefits of the Facebook Instant Articles, there are of course a few drawbacks.

One of them being that Facebook limits the advertising options on it’s articles. You’ll have the option to either use your own ads or to use ads which Facebook will decide to display. Not only that, but you’ll be limited on how many ads can be displayed in the article.

If you are thinking of publishing Instant Articles you’ll need to first get your content reviewed and approved by the Instant Articles team. You’ll be able to submit articles for review via the Instant Articles section found in the left menu under settings on your page.

Here’s how the Facebook Article review process works, as mentioned in their document guide.

  1. Consult the Submission Checklist (page is currently down) to verify all the elements of your API end point or RSS feed are ready.
  2. Clean out old articles before submitting. Delete prototype or testing articles created during your development process that do not meet requirements. Use the Actions dropdown in your Instant Articles library to delete selected stories, as described above.
  3. Submit a minimum of 50 articles that are ready for review.
  4. All submissions will be reviewed within 24 to 48 hours of submission.
  5. Facebook will select a random sample from the most recent 50 articles at the time of submission.
  6. Your reviewer looks at the sample stories to ensure they comply with Instant Articles program policies and follow our technical documentation and design guidelines. All features and elements should be used correctly. The goal of the review is to ensure that your readers have an excellent experience whenever they encounter Instant Articles. We want to encourage people to spend more time enjoying your content.
  7. If your submission is rejected for any reason, you’ll receive notes from your reviewer that detail the changes needed to bring your articles into compliance with our policies and guidelines.
  8. If necessary, when you’re ready to resubmit, make sure there are 20 or more new articles that reflect your most recent changes.
  9. Upon resubmission, your reviewer will look at a random sample of articles selected from the most recent 20 available. It often takes a few go-arounds for new Instant Articles publishers to get everything right, so don’t panic if you aren’t approved right away.
  10. Once your submission has been approved, your reviewer will notify you. You can then begin publishing Instant Articles whenever you’re ready!

On Monday 7th March, Facebook said they are partnering with WordPress.com’s parent company Automattic to release a WordPress plugin for Facebook Instant Articles.

Credit: Facebook
Credit: Facebook

The WordPress plugin creates an RSS feed that will automatically optimise posts to appear as Instant Articles. The plugin is also open-source and customiseable. The documentation for the plugin is available on Github and the FAQ is available here.

Whether you decide to publish on Facebook Instant Articles is entirely up to you, however it could be a great way to increase your brand’s exposure. For more information check out the Facebook Instant Articles website.

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