How to start using Facebook instant articles

Kristina Oćićek

Instant Articles are one of the biggest Facebook novelties. Here’s a quick list of everything you need to know about getting started with Instant Articles – sending them for approval, writing and publishing.

WHAT ARE INSTANT ARTICLES

Instant Articles are Facebook’s new feature that allows content creators to publish their articles through Facebook’s own publishing platform which provides readers with a better user experience. Even though it has been around for a while, it was released for everyone at this year’s F8.

What makes instant articles cool

Nowadays, consumers have little patience; a study appointed by Adobe shows that difference between capturing readers and losing them is determined in milliseconds. If digital content takes too long to load, 78% of individuals switch or give up. Instant Articles solve this problem because they enable articles to open instantly and give readers the opportunity to interact with content in a way that allows for intuitive exploration of a story.

And that’s not just something Facebook tells users to build up the Instant Articles hype, numbers are also in favor of this feature. Instant Articles actually receive 20% more clicks than mobile web articles from the News Feed. They are also shared 30% more than other articles and once someone clicks on an Instant Article, they’re 70% less likely to abandon the article before reading.

In addition to that, Instant Articles let you implement different dynamic formats in it, such as videos, photos and even CTA buttons. Another great thing about Instant Articles is that you can brand them. Facebook lets you design your Instant Article style, so it fits your brand – you get to configure all of the details from header to footer. This directly increases the reach of your content and boosts brand awareness, especially if you use it together with Facebook’s powerful ad platform.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO START USING INSTANT ARTICLES?

Now that we’ve covered Instant Article basics, let’s get you up to speed with all the things you need to know about Facebook approval and writing your own Instant Articles. Facebook just approved our submissions & enabled us to post Instant Articles, so here’s a list of things you need to make sure you got right before you click submit to be sure your application gets approved.

Before you can start publishing Instant Articles, you must submit 10 articles for review by Facebook and they need to be created according to this checklist. Good news is that Facebook lets you submit articles that you’ve already published on your website or blog.

Instant_articles_scrn_2

Properly structure your content

Since Facebook is very serious about their terms and conditions, in order to get approved, your Instant Article submissions should conform to their Facebook guidelines, so check them out before you start. In addition to that, make sure all your Instant Article submissions contain as much content as their web versions. If Facebook spots discrepancies between two versions, your application might not get approved.  Also, make sure that all your content is properly credited – add captions and state the source of the content if it’s not your own.

One of the most important things you have to get right when you’re choosing which articles to submit, is the demonstration of media elements that will commonly appear in your Instant Articles. Choose articles that will showcase as many different types of content you’ll mostly use, that includes:

  • Images
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Audio
  • Interactives and social embeds
  • Maps and geotag locations

Create a distinctive design language

Since your Instant Articles should represent your brand, make sure to create at least one article style. You can change every element of the page, so make sure their style resemble the one on your page and that it conforms to Facebook’s design guidelines.

To do that, use the integrated Style Editor that can be found within the Publishing Tools section of your page. Make sure to create a style template with a defined logo and font selections. If you plan to use multiple style templates, create them all and provide article examples of each template when you submit them for review.

Make sure your analytics is set up

If you plan on incorporating ads into your Instant Articles, you gotta make sure your analytics is properly set up. Instant Articles are compatible with analytics tools, such as Google Analytics and comScore, but you can also use your existing web-based analytics systems to track traffic.

Set up and implement ads into your articles before you send them for review, and showcase all of the interactive features you usually use. Your ads should be live so you could present your creative as well as design style, because regular placeholders will not be enough.

You can find all the details about ad types, placement, audiences, analytics and Insights API in the web manual, so make sure to check it out if you want to track the traffic (you really should).

Connect it through an API

Facebook’s Instant Articles API will enable you to create, update and delete Instant Articles for your Facebook Page, so make sure you set it up right. You first need to authenticate it with a page access token which you’ll later exchange for a regular token which will last indefinitely. When you have that, you’ll be able to manage your Instant Articles. Since you’ll need to use code to set it up, you might want to call your developer to give you a hand. You can find a detailed setup guide for this on Facebook’s web, so make sure you go through it before you begin.

LET’S WRAP IT UP

Instant Articles are changing the way we create, brand and target our content. I believe that, in the near future, the majority of Internet traffic is going to happen on Facebook because of the changes and upgrades Facebook already started implementing. With Instant Articles, Facebook gives you an opportunity to directly communicate with your fans in a way that’s faster and more streamlined. At the same time, it also helps you to raise brand awareness, which means you definitely want to take advantage of this opportunity.

Author

Kristina Oćićek

Community Manager Intern who loves to spend her days (and nights) on the magical internet. Has an endless love for dogs, music and bad puns. Likes to think she’d be sorted into Gryffindor, but it’s more likely she’s a Hufflepuff

All stories by Kristina

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