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What Marketers Need to Know about Facebook Instant Articles
Facebook Instant Articles recently became available to everyone. This Facebook-native platform was designed specifically to address the problem of slow loading times on the mobile web, allowing you to create immersive, engaging experiences for readers that load quickly and can include a range of interactive features.
The reason you should care about Facebook Instant Articles is that they offer the opportunity for brands to share posts efficiently with the mobile audience while showing them a limited selection of their own ads. With Instant Articles, publishers have access to tools for things like measuring page views, adding email sign-up forms to articles and A/B testing headlines. Instant Articles can include text and images, plus slideshows, audio, maps, and video. They also support Facebook comments and likes.
How Do You Use Them?
Facebook Instant Articles are designed for publishers that want one tool to publish to the web, mobile, or wherever else readers see their content. They can be published directly from an existing Content Management System (CMS) without having to re-create articles in Facebook. You could, for example, sync your brand's blog with Instant Articles using Facebook's publishing tools.
Other Facebook publishing tool integrations include a WordPress plugin, connection via RSS feed, and integrations with Drupal, Tempest, Atavist, Steller, Medium, Sovrn, Perk Distributed, ShareThis and RebelMouse. There's also an API integration that allows users to write, publish, update and delete Instant Articles directly from their CMS.
Fewer Distractions, Faster Loading
Why should you consider Instant Articles? One big reason is that they load up to ten times faster than mobile web articles, and load speed is a major determinant of user engagement with content. Statistics are showing 70% less abandonment and 20% more clicks than mobile web articles from the Facebook News Feed. Furthermore, Instant Articles are shared 30% more than the average mobile web article. So it's basically a terrific way to make native advertising content more accessible, faster and, most importantly, shareable.
Visually Distinguish Instant Articles from Regular Content
Other features you will appreciate include customization and branding through the use of logos, color schemes, and fonts (though font choices are currently limited). Details from header to footer to background color to accent color can be customized to match a publisher's brand. This has the effect not only of conveying brand information, but also of setting Instant Articles apart from ordinary Facebook content. Add in the impressive load speed, and you set the stage for superior user engagement.
Tools Available to Make the Most of Instant Articles
After signing up for Facebook Instant Articles, choose which of your Facebook Pages you want to activate Instant Articles for. Next, claim a "base" URL for all your articles and then create style templates to customize your Instant Articles' look and feel. Articles are formatted with a custom HTML5 markup, and Facebook provides examples users can access to experiment with markup.
Each new publisher has to be approved by Facebook before Instant Articles will start being published. To be approved, you must prepare 10 articles with live ads enabled using the range of design and interactive features you plan to use most. You'll get feedback on these articles through the Instant Articles Configuration page to let you know if you need to change anything in order to gain approval. Once your feed is approved, it's up to you to decide when to start publishing Instant Articles.
Facebook Instant Articles is an exciting new option that's making forward-looking businesses take notice.
Interested in learning how to make Instant Articles work for you?Get in touch with our social team!