Facebook Instant Articles

Facebook Instant Articles

Unsurprisingly more and more people are realising the usefulness of platforms like Facebook for business.
As we all know, content is King (and context is Queen) and to accommodate this Facebook has developed a system called ‘Instant Articles’ that allows businesses to specifically target its users with fast loading content.
For RicklerX, Instant Articles is the exact kind of technology that we need to keep up to date with, for both us and our clients, so I turned to someone I know who specialises in this area for context.

Naomi Jane Johnson runs Purrfectly Social, a company specialising in social media with a big emphasis on Facebook, so, if anyone will know about Instant Articles she will (you can also ‘AMA’ her about cats!)

Naomi pointed me to a very comprehensive article that she had written on this very subject, the key points are here:

Recently Facebook announced: “during the coming months we’re making an update to News Feed to show people more stories that will load quickly on mobile and fewer stories that might take longer to load, so they can spend more time reading the stories they find relevant”.

As normal with an update like this, it will be rolled out over a short period, but is expect it to be in full effect around Q4 2017/ Q1 2018.
As a side note, a crucial phrase here is: “If signals indicate the webpage will load quickly, the link to that web page might appear higher in your feed.” So, if you use Facebook for marketing, this is a very strong incentive to make sure your main website also loads fast and, of course, you can speak to us about this area.

What Does This Mean For Your Facebook Marketing?

Initially rolled out in 2015, Facebook Instant Articles were aimed at large (media) publishers, then made available to all page owners in April 2016.
So far, the reception has been fairly lukewarm partly because the process was fairly complex and tricky. This latest news from Facebook has spurred people back into action and the take up numbers seem to be rising.

In essence, Facebook Instant Articles are mobile-optimised equivalents of (for example) a blog post or article published on your own website, according to Facebook, they tend to load up to 10 times faster than a regular web page, and, as such, offer instant content consumption – ideal for today’s busy online world where people are constantly scrolling. When you post your blog link to Facebook, as you’ve done hundreds of times in the past, and that blog post has an Instant Article clone, then users will automatically see the latter when accessing it on mobile.

Facebook Instant Articles

BTW – A key indicator to an Instant Article in your newsfeed is that it displays a lightning bolt icon so you know it’ll be instantly recognised.

Because users are not leaving Facebook, you might think this would be a disadvantage, as there’s more chance of conversion on your website – but as with everything Facebook, the Instant Articles platform is being updated continuously; you can even include ads, and email sign-up forms in your articles now.

Ready To Get Started?

If you are serious about getting the best possible results from Facebook – and with its massive user base, all businesses should be using it for some kind of marketing – you need to set up Instant Articles now.
That said, you need to be prepared as the process requires more than a basic level of tech skill. You can DIY if you feel comfortable, (details below), but, if not, Naomi is more than happy to help get you up and running.
Once set-up correctly all future blog posts/ articles you publish will be converted immediately to Instant Article format and whenever you share the link to it on Facebook, mobile users will get the full Instant Article experience, giving you a huge advantage over your competitors who aren’t yet switched on to this.

How To Set Up Instant Articles

Here’s a quick summary of the setup process, especially made easy if you’re using WordPress for your blog or website:

  1. Sign up and choose the page you want to link – visit instantarticles.fb.com (you must have a Facebook page and be an admin on that page)
  2. Claim your URL – most likely to be the website where your blog lives
  3. Add the meta tag to your website header (if you’re using WordPress as the basis of your website, you can use Facebook’s recommended plugin, Instant Articles For WP to help generate an RSS feed of your articles)
  4. Connect your Facebook page as per the instructions
  5. Create your articles and customise the template styling if you wish (you’ll need at least 10 articles to get verified) – and you’ll need to upload your logo (per Facebook’s specifications)
  6. Submit your articles to Facebook for approval (this usually takes 1-3 business days)

In summary

Facebook’s Instant Articles looks to be a very useful tool for businesses, especially mixed with your Facebook marketing efforts and, like every new tool, your business should be laying the groundwork now either on a DIY basis or get in touch and let us sort it for you.