Facebook Instant Articles is Facebook’s latest way for you to engage your audience with material you post on your blog. According to Facebook, the over 1,000 publishers who are using Facebook Instant articles are seeing 20% more clicks and 30% more shares.
What exactly are Facebook Instant Articles?
Facebook Instant Articles are all about providing a media rich experience that doesn’t slow down on mobile phones. While video and slideshows have always have an advantage, they often lost that advantage on mobile because of slow loading times and other mobile specific issues. We have all had the experience of giving up on a video that took too long to load on our phone!) Now that is a non-issue for anyone using Facebook’s new option.
See that lightning icon in the upper right corner of the image on this post? That means this is an Instant Article and the mobile upload time will be super fast.
Anyone not using responsive design is even further behind
The express purpose of Facebook Instant Articles is improving mobile experience. For a long time, bloggers and website owners who have not been creating mobile responsive websites have been losing page views, readers, and search engine results. (If you are not sure if your website qualifies, use Google’s responsive test tool to see where your website stacks up.)
[Tweet “Mobile matters. If you are still ignoring responsive design – catch up!”]
Guidelines for ads on your blog and new monetization options
Facebook Instant Articles is also now bringing Facebook ad standardization to blogging. Ads cannot be more than 15% of any article in order for it to be approved by Facebook. Additionally, publishers with a blog can monetize their blog by placing ads in Facebook Instant Articles. While limiting ads on a blog has long been best practice, it has been debated how much and where. This creates guidelines that may impact industry standard. And just wait – video ads are coming soon too!
Blogging as an interactive experience
Blogging came from a beginning of a person (or business), sharing their thoughts with the world. Interaction was often limited to comments, if that. The language that Facebook uses to describe Instant Articles, along with the features provided (such as polls and monetization options), clearly show a shift toward a more interactive experience. Blogging is becoming more about the shared experience.
[Tweet “Always be thinking about why your readers are there and what you want them to do.”]
Starting with Facebook Instant Articles
You first have to sign up for an Instant Articles account. Simply select the pages that you want to publish your content to. Note – it needs to be a page that you have administrative access to for this to work.
Creating your articles requires you to link to your already existing blog content, either yours, or your client’s if you are managing a client’s website and social media. This will be easiest if you are publishing using WordPress, as you can install the Instant Articles WordPress Plugin. Though, if you are tech savvy you will be able to use an RSS feed or Facebook’s API directly. Follow the steps to complete signing up to create Facebook Instant Articles.
What do you think? Are the benefits of Facebook Instant Articles worth the extra work to set up? Are you going to start using them to publish or monetize your blog? Let me know in the comments!