Continuing our series on content marketing trends 2016, looking at content developments dominating the year so far, let’s take a look at Facebook Instant Articles.
So what exactly are Facebook Instant Articles?
When you click on an article that someone’s shared on Facebook on your phone or mobile device, you usually get redirected to the website that hosts the article. And as with any URL you click on, you’re then reliant on that website and its mobile page loading speed in order to access the content.
Facebook Instant Articles addresses this issue by allowing publishers to optimise content to be uploaded directly onto Facebook. This means that if the article you’ve clicked on is an Instant Article, it is now stored on the Facebook App and loaded by Facebook up to 10x faster, rather than relying on a third party site.
According to Facebook, this faster reading experience inspires people to share articles 30% more often than mobile web articles on average.
How does it work?
It works by the publishers’ content management system (CMS) interfacing directly with Facebook to seamlessly publish the HTML5 documents, optimised for fast mobile performance, as they are released. Instant Articles use a standardised markup language similar to XML which can be applied automatically to enable automated publication of an entire content feed.
Who uses Instant Articles?
When it launched in May 2015 Instant Articles only had a handful of users, regarded as launch partners, including BuzzFeed, The New York Times, The Guardian and BBC News. Since then many other big publishers have got involved, including 13 U.K. publishers in December.
Here you’ll be asked to select which page you’d like to register for the service, based on the pages you are an Admin for. Admins will then be able to configure articles based on Facebook’s guidelines and submit them for review.
Publishers can configure and use their existing web-based analytics systems (such as Google Analytics) or third-party analytics platforms, so article traffic can still be monitored regardless of where articles are hosted.
How to use Instant Articles
The first thing you need to do is sign up to the program at https://instantarticles.fb.com/.
Select your Facebook Page
After signing up you’ll be presented with the page/pages that you’re an Admin for on Facebook. Simply choose which Page you’d like to activate Instant Articles for.
You’ll then be asked to provide a URL you wish to use which will serve as the basis for the URLs of your posts.
Syncing your website content
WordPress – There are a variety of WordPress Instant Articles plugins that sync your site directly with Facebook, quickly and easily. PageFrog is one of the most popular. Simply search your WordPress plugin database for more.
Drupal – Drupal provide a Facebook Instant Articles module to work with the popular web publishing platform, with two methods to choose from for how to add content.
RSS – You can also use RSS feeds to integrate with Instant Articles. You will need a CMS that generates RSS feeds that will then link to Facebook and publish content automatically. Information on how to sync RSS feeds can be found on the Facebook for Developers resource.
Submit to Facebook
Once done your feed will be reviewed by Facebook to ensure quality and formatting.