Facebook Instant Articles are a game changer for those looking to use the social network to promote their content. It provides a glimpse into how the future of content will work on social media.
It is also a big leap of faith for publishers and content creators. That is because now their content is now more than ever dependent upon Facebook to increase their market share.
To help move away the veil of secrecy around Facebook Instant Articles, we want to cover how this new publishing platform works for social media marketers.
Below we explain how Facebook Instant Articles works, along with providing a tutorial on how to start using it for your business.
Understanding Facebook Instant Articles
Like any new platform, there are pros and cons to Instant Articles. By evaluating both sides we can help you have a better understanding of how this platform enables you to drive more mobile traffic to your business.
- Fast and Responsive – The biggest plus for small businesses is that Facebook Instant Articles is blazing fast. Like Google AMP, Instant Articles have special programming that strips much of the coding from the site and caches it to display photos and videos quickly on the Facebook app.
In fact, Facebook states that the articles load 10 times faster than a standard mobile web article. By loading so quickly, they have seen a 20% increase in articles read as well as a reduction of 70% in the Instant Articles abandon rate.
- More Shares – Because of the platform, it is extremely easy to share the content on Facebook. This is why Facebook found that Instant Articles show 30% more shares than traditional mobile articles.
Because the stories included on the app are more immersed in the technology, they seem more native and get shared more often. The more shares you get, the larger the reach you can achieve.
- Measurable – You can accurately track traffic to your article on Facebook. Facebook has some of the best analytics software on their site. Because the traffic goes directly through Facebook, you can track how people read and engage with your content.
It also works in conjunction with your current web tracking software.
Finally, you can embed cookies to track readers’ interests as well as provide them with relevant ads.
- Limited Content – The biggest detractor is that they remove a lot of the content on a website that helps businesses increase conversions. Widgets, forms, and pop-ups are mostly missing from the mix.
Therefore, if you market your business through these strategies you will find it increasingly difficult to convert traffic.
However, you will have more traffic, so it could balance out over the long run.
- Limited Ads – Furthermore, most companies run their business through advertising dollars. Facebook limits the number of ads you can include on a page.
This could decrease revenue dramatically for many publishing companies. It is surprising that so many of them went along with the idea initially simply because of this reason.
However, many publishers get 60% of their traffic through Facebook.
Furthermore, Facebook is helping businesses get additional ad money by running the ads through Facebook’s ad platform. Similar to monetizing Google AdSense, publishers now get money when they run ads on their network.
According to Facebook, publishers who bring in their own advertisers get 100% of profits, and 30% when Facebook brings in the advertisers.
- Facebook Dependency – The other major negative here is that it causes an even greater Facebook dependency. Because publishers get so much of their traffic already from Facebook, it only stands to reason that they will need them even more in the future.
How to Set Up Facebook Instant Articles
While setting up Instant Articles depends upon the platform you use for your website, here are some basic steps you need to take.
- Facebook Fan Page – You need to connect Instant Articles with an active fan page, as this connects the platform to your business account.
Furthermore, if you have multiple authors then you need the page admin to grant access to Facebook Instant Articles to the other admins.
You can preview and manage parts of Facebook Instant Articles through your fan page.
- Website – You need to include some code that Facebook provides you, so you can connect your website RSS feed and Facebook Instant Articles together.
This way, whenever you post a new article from your website, it automatically feeds into Facebook.
Fortunately, if you have a Facebook account, you can use the Facebook Instant Articles plugin to install this tool.
Currently, a number of platforms are looking to include Facebook Instant Articles extensions and/or plugins in their respective website directories.
You might need to hire a developer to finish part of the job. If you are not sure what to do, feel free to contact us at 1300 360 137.
- RSS Feed – While every modern CMS (Content Management Platform) already has an RSS feed, some custom-made websites sadly still do not.
The RSS feed automates content from the website to Facebook.
Here are a few simple things you can do today to get started with Facebook Instant Articles.
- WordPress Users – As we mentioned above, WordPress has a specific plugin to make your installation of Instant Articles smooth.
The Automattic Plugin is currently in development. However, PageFrog created a plugin that works with both Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP.
- Submit for Review – Publishers are not immediately accepted into Facebook Instant Articles. They need to be reviewed by Facebook’s team first before accepting your site.
Facebook Instant Articles are off to a good start. However, many content creators have not joined the program on Facebook yet.
Since Facebook obviously favours content that runs on their platform this is a golden chance to get more traffic from the largest social network in the world. Take advantage of this before the window goes away.
If you are still not sure how to implement Facebook Instant Articles, feel free to give us a Shout! We want to offer you a free initial consultation to help you understand how to implement Facebook Instant Articles in your social media marketing strategy.