Facebook Instant Articles – What are they?


Facebook's Instant Articles are coming, but what exactly are Instant Articles and why should you start using them?


Anyone working for a major news website or publisher knows that social referrals (links shared on social media), have become a crucial source of new readers for some time. According to the traffic-analytics service Parse.ly, Facebook is now overtaking Google in referrals to news outlets. Facebook now accounts for 43% of traffic to the Parse.ly network of media sites, while Google accounted for just 38%.
With the introduction to Instant Articles, Facebook could increase this percentage even more.

What are Instant Articles?

The new Facebook Instant Article is an HTML5 document that is optimized for fast mobile performance with a customized look and feel. The Facebook app automatically pre-fetches the stories as the user approches them in their social feed. Instant articles are able to load faster by stripping out most of the traditional code used in websites.

Identify an Instant Article with the lightening bolt icon.
Identify an Instant Article with the lightening bolt icon.

What are the benefits of using Instant Articles?

Because the Facebook app pre-fetches the stories as the user approaches them in their social feed, the user can click to read the article instantly without having to wait for the page to load as they would traditionally. As a result, the readers get a better experience with loading times up to 10x faster while also providing the interactive elements and high quality experience the readers expect.

Instant Articles can be made to have the same look and feel as your current brand.
Instant Articles can be made to have the same look and feel as your current brand.

Instant Articles allow publishers to bring their stories to life with the use of high-resolution photos, auto-play videos, interactive maps and audio captions. The aim of the Instant Articles is to keep publishers in control, allowing them to decide on the content they wish to share using article templates that mirror the look and feel of their own branding. Publishers can even automate their workflow using RSS to publish Instant Articles directly from WordPress or other content management systems.

Publishers can make money by selling advertising inside the articles, of which they can do themselves or they can allow Facebook to handle them in exchange for a 30% cut of any advertising revenue made through the article.

 

How do I get Instant Articles?

Instant articles have been available to all publishers since April 12th, 2016.

Your website will need to be developed to allow Facebook to use your content in the Instant Article format. If you are interested in having Instant Articles, feel free to contact us to find out about how we can help you setup Instant Articles.