Facebook is by far the biggest and most popular social networking platform.
And now it has become even more rewarding by allowing you to drive more traffic from Facebook and earn more money.
It has come up with Facebook Instant Articles feature which helps bloggers and webmasters to have more traffic from Facebook.
In this post, we have come up with a detailed guide on Facebook Instant Articles. It tells you how to use Facebook Instant Articles and everything else you need to know about FB Instant Articles. You come to know how to configure Facebook Instant Articles within your website.
In fact, Facebook Instant Articles is here to stay, and it would be in your own interest to integrate it as soon as you can.
However, Instant Articles is not like most other Facebook features. You cannot use them straight away. It requires some preparations.
So, let’s move on to understand what Facebook Instant Articles are, along with their pros and cons.
Table of Contents
What are Facebook Instant Articles?
The Facebook Instant Article feature was built to solve the specific problem of slow loading times on the mobile web. It is an HTML5 document which has been optimized for fast mobile performance, branded design, rich storytelling capabilities, and a customized visual display.
Once Instant Articles have been enabled on your website or blog, whenever you go on to share your articles on Facebook, the users surfing the Facebook mobile app get to see the Instant Article Icon.
The Icon will tell that the article is an Instant Article and it will open in seconds.
Here is an example of Instant Article Icon for you:
Instant Articles is fast catching up on Facebook users.
Many of you would already have experienced Instant Articles while using the Facebook mobile app on your smartphone.
Facebook Instant Articles have become a great asset for publishers big and small, as they can now host their content on Facebook as against simply posting links pointing to their website.
Facebook has always been a step ahead in connecting people to the stories, posts, photos, or videos that matter most to them. With Instant Articles, Facebook further endeavors to help publishers to tell great stories that load quickly to people all over the world.
Plus, with Instant Articles, publishers retain control over the experience, their data, and their ads.
Moreover, Instant Articles have opened commercial opportunities for publishers by allowing them to run branded content, rich media, and their direct sold ads and keeping 100% of the revenue.
In fact, Instant Articles have 10x faster load times than a normal web page. The boost in load speed means an enhanced user experience for mobile users.
Having said that, Instant Articles hold a great amount of room for improvement and innovation in the days to come. We will also take a look at the pros and cons of using Facebook Instant Articles.
Why does Instant Articles Matter?
Facebook mobile app is the most popular app on Smartphones. As of January 2016, Facebook reach on Smartphones was 78.4%. It is the most used app along with the Messenger App.
As Facebook is the most used app, most of your mobile users are likely to use it. So, you don’t have to convince your audience for using another app. Moreover, Instant Articles go on to enhance user experience as the articles are served to users within seconds.
The articles load ultra-fast, and so users instantly get what they are looking when they read your articles.
There’s a big list of Pros of using Instant Articles.
Let’s see it for ourselves.
- Ultra-fast mobile performance.
- As much as 20% more Instant Articles are read on average.
- 70% of users are less likely to abandon the article.
- Users get rich media options such as high-resolution photos, videos, and interactive maps.
- Customized visual display.
- Branded design.
- No additional steps required in the publishing workflow.
- Provides an opportunity to monetize Facebook mobile users.
- Users go on to click and share Instant Articles with their friends.
However, Instant Articles are not without drawbacks.
Let us see the Cons of using Instant Articles:
- They have a high possibility of being subjected to Facebook algorithm changes.
- Limited advertising revenue as with Instant Articles there is a limit to the number of ads you can show on an article.
- Limited options for subscribing or signing up for newsletters.
- Email forms, widgets, sidebars, shortcodes, and custom fields will not display.
- Embedded interactive content may not display properly.
So, using Facebook Instant Articles eventually depends on your business goals and objectives. For example, News and Media Site can benefit greatly by adding Instant Articles.
How Instant Articles work?
Instant Articles need not be republished on Facebook as they go on to automatically syndicate content published on your own CMS (Content Management System).
Moreover, the content is associated with the version you post on your site. However, Facebook does have a review process by which it ensures that all Instant Articles are formatted according to community standards.
As far as user experience is concerned, mobile users are allowed to share Facebook Instant Articles. However, those who click on the shared link can be sent to the Instant Article or the website when they are using a mobile device or desktop browser.
Further up, the mobile readers who view your Facebook Instant Articles won’t be counted as referral traffic from Facebook, as they do not visit your website.
However, tools such as Google Analytics can be used for tracking traffic to your Facebook Instant Articles, and thus you can gauge traffic and overall visitor counts.
How to publish Facebook Instant Articles
Wondering how to use Facebook Instant Articles?
Well, in this section, we will let you know everything about publishing Facebook Instant Articles.
However, before we take up the steps, here are some prerequisites for Facebook Instant Articles:
- You need to have a Facebook Page.
- The Facebook Pages app. It allows previewing the Instant Articles on your mobile device.
- An RSS feed for displaying the full content of your articles. It will enable you to automate the publishing of your content to Facebook Instant Articles.
- Facebook Instant Articles markup on your blog or website.
- A minimum of 10 articles to submit to Facebook for approval into the Facebook Instant Articles Program.
- Facebook Business Manager for support to FB Instant Articles.
Step #1: Sign Up for Instant Articles
For getting started with Facebook Instant Articles, you need to first signup over at instantarticles.fb.com
Here, you need to select your Facebook page from the list of pages you have access to.
Then you need to check the box “Agree to the Instant Articles Terms” and click the “Enable Instant Articles” button.
Step #2: Explore the Setup Area
Once you click on the “Enable Instant Articles” button, you will be routed to the Instant Articles Setup Area.
Here, you will see “Instant Articles” Menu Option in the left sidebar of your page’s settings.
The right sidebar will display the Quickstart Guide to Instant Articles Configuration.
Below this, you will find the initial tools for getting content submitted for review for Instant Articles.
Step #3: Getting to know Instant Articles
You should read the Quick Start Guide and Documentation at the start of the setup before you dive into the tools. It will enable you to properly setup Instant Articles from the start.
Once you familiarize yourself with the setup of Instant Articles, you can then proceed with the following steps.
Step #4: Claim your URL
The next step in setting up Instant Articles is to Claim your URL. You can claim your URL by using “Connect your Site” option which you can find under the Instant Articles “Initial Setup” options.
Once you have determined what URL to claim, you can enter the URL into your tools. When this is done, you will receive a confirmation message and have the ability to add URLs if needed.
Step #5: Setup Your RSS Feed
The next step is to set up your RSS Feed which will enable you to publish Articles to Instant Articles automatically. You can use your production feed or a development RSS Feed.
Self-Hosted WordPress Users
Self Hosted WordPress Users can install a plugin for optimizing the content and RSS feed for Facebook Instant Articles. Here, you can either use the PageFrog Plugin or the official plugin developed by Facebook for WordPress.
Step #6: Configuring Monetization Settings
For monetizing your instant articles, you can configure those options here:
You need to set up your Audience Network Account and a host of other options. You cannot go back once you have clicked Get Started. More on this, a little later.
Step #7: Design your Instant Articles
The next step is to design your instant article styles for visitors in the Facebook app. By clicking on the “Default” option or “Add a New Style,” you can configure all the details from the header to footer for matching it with your brand.
Step #8: Set up Email Alerts
The last option under Tools enables you to set up email alerts about any issues with your Instant Articles. So, don’t forget to check them here.
Step #9: Checking for Errors in Publishing Tools
Once you have done configuring the Instant Articles setup, you can head over to the Publishing Tools to see your Instant Articles.
Here, you will receive alerts for any errors on your articles before they are submitted to Facebook for review. You will notice the Edit Icon next to an article. When you click on the Edit Icon, you will see the issues related to that article.
You can make edits within Publishing Tools for correcting the errors. However, in some cases, you need to go back to the original article on your website for editing. Make sure that you have removed the errors before submitting your article for review.
Step #10: Previewing Articles on the Facebook Pages App
The Facebook Pages App will enable you to preview your instant articles so that you can ascertain how they look to your Facebook app visitors.
If you want to make changes, you can go to your Page Settings > Instant Articles > Tools > Styles on your desktop browser. The changes you apply to your style get instantly reflected the article that you are previewing in the app.
Step #11: Submitting Articles for Review
Once you have completed all the options correctly and find that your preview looks good, it’s time to submit the articles for review. For this, you need to click on the “Submit for Review” button in the initial Setup Area.
However, you should ensure that you fulfill the 10-article submission requirement. So, check your Publishing Tools to make sure that there are ten articles in your library for Facebook to review.
Once it is done, you have to wait for 24-48 hours until Facebook’s team review and approve your articles. Then your articles will become Facebook Instant Articles.
Step #12: If you don’t get approved the first time
If you had submitted content with lots of errors, then Facebook might not approve your articles as Instant Articles.
However, Facebook provides detailed reasons why it didn’t approve your content. So, you need to clean up the errors and resubmit your content for review once you have created ten new articles on your website.
You can head over to the Publishing Tools for editing your instant articles and ensure that none have any alerts next to them for making it a success when you resubmit them.
Step #13: Once your Content has been approved
Once you are approved for Facebook Instant Articles, you get to see the following in your Page’s Instant Articles Settings.
If you want to enable auto-publishing from RSS Feed, then you need to toggle the Auto-Publish setting to On.
You can use your Publishing Tool to edit your articles, delete articles, or publish articles that you had submitted for review. You can even check how your articles are performing among Facebook app users.
So, it’s time that you optimized your content for Facebook Instant Articles. The above steps will help you to get on with it.
Making Money from Instant Articles – Facebook Audience Network
In this section, you will come to know how to make money from Instant Articles. In fact, by default, Instant Articles doesn’t show any ads.
However, you can enable Facebook Audience Network Ads to Instant Articles.
The Facebook Audience Network Ads is like “Adsense for Facebook.”
In Facebook Audience Network, the fill rate, as well as CPM, is pretty high when compared to other ad networks. Plus, the ads on Instant Articles are targeted based on user demographics and interest.
With Audience Network, publishers get engaging and high performing ad units which are backed by Facebook’s three million advertisers. It is the best way to monetize your content with relevant and innovative ad formats.
How to enable Facebook Audience Network Ads
Head over to Facebook Page Instant Articles Settings.
Under Tools, you will get Audience Network.
Here, you need to check the box.
Then click on “Get Started.”
It will show up a screen like this:
Here, Click on “Your Dashboard.”
In this section, you will create the ad placement.
Click on the “Placements” Tab, and you will be shown the screen as follows:
Here, you have to click on “Create Ad Placement.”
Give a meaningful name to it.
You can select from three different ad types:
Once you select the ad format – for example: “Banner” Ad format and click on Save.
You will get the Ad Placement ID.
If you are using the official Facebook Instant Articles Plugin, the Ad Placement ID is enough to get started.
Now, Login to your WordPress Dashboard.
Access the Instant Articles Settings.
Look for the “Ads” section.
• Select Ad type: Facebook Audience Network
• Copy the Audience Network Placement ID
• Select the ad dimensions
Lastly, click on Save.
How Publisher will Get Paid by Facebook Audience Network
Once you have configured ads on Instant Articles, you need to go ahead and fill out the payment information so that you can get paid.
Access the Facebook Audience Network Dashboard.
Click on the “Payout” Tab.
You will get a screen as shown below:
Here, click on “Create a New Company” and fill out the form.
The payment can be received through Paypal or Direct Bank Deposit. You can choose either one of them.
Next, you are required to add Tax forms.
Right click on the form which you are entitled and save it on your desktop. Then, open the downloaded file and fill out the form. Once this is done, upload this “Required Tax Document.”
Finally, click on “Save.”
Some Important Points:
• Payment is made through Paypal or direct bank deposit
• Ads can be disabled from specific categories
• Payment is made on the 21st of each month for the previous month’s balance.
• Audience Network does not reveal its revenue share
With this, we have covered the essential points for monetizing Instant Articles on Facebook.
So, we see that Facebook Instant Articles not only boosts up the user experience, it can also open up a good earning opportunity for your website or blog.
Thus, it will be beneficial for your business if you go on to optimize your content for Facebook Instant Articles.