Publishers have realized that it makes sense to take content to where the users are. Buzzfeed was among the first one to realize the importance of content distribution. Nearly 80% of Buzzfeed’s 7 billion monthly views come from sources other than its website. Buzzfeed is among the top publishers on Facebook.
Publishers have relied on Facebook for referral traffic however over the past few years the traffic from referral source has dried down. Facebook has constantly altered its algorithm making it even harder to get noticed on the news feed and without paid advertising you reach plummets to half of what is organically possible.
Enter Facebook Instant Articles
Facebook launched Instant Articles last year getting all top publishers on board to speed up the web and provide a faster & seamless experience to users consuming content. Facebook Instant Articles helps to control the user experience and to also monetize the content from the publisher which it couldn’t till now.
Publishers have been a bit skeptical about Instant Articles most choosing to wait and watch as more publishers try it out. Instant Articles should boost up the engagement for publishers as with Live Videos which have recorded 10x more engagement compared to video.
Publishers have been smart with Instant Articles and most are keeping a balance with reference to content uploaded on Instant Articles versus what content will be available on their own site. If the content is of high value feature-led/researched/long-form then it makes sense not to use Instant Articles. If you are a publisher with listicle or curated content then Instant Articles should help you to reach a larger audience base.
It’s not just publisher even brands are on board with Facebook. In July this year, Intel became the first brand to publish content using Instant Articles.
Guide to Facebook Instant Articles – Getting Started
Step 1: Sign-up for Instant Articles
As a publisher, you have to sign-up for Instant Articles at https://instantarticles.fb.com/ post you sign-up Facebook will enable configuration tools for your fan page.
Step 2: Connect your site
Configuration tools will start off by requesting you to verify whether you are the owner of the domain which wants to publish Instant Articles. To verify the ownership you have to paste a meta tag before closing the <head> tag of your website. Once you have completed this hit claim URL to proceed with rest of the set-up.
Step 3: Production RSS feed
You can connect the RSS feeds of your site to enable Facebook to automatically publish your content using Instant Articles. Automated publishing on Facebook can also be done using API’s. If as a publisher you don’t want to publish all your articles on Facebook you can skip this step.
Step 4: Set-up Style
You can customize the look and feel of your Instant Articles to make sure they are consistent across platforms. Publishers can create their own unique templates before they moved to production of the articles.
Step 5: Other Configurations
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Facebook also provides Instant Articles Insights Dashboard which tracks clicks, time spent, and scroll depth. If you want to know more about Analytics on Instant Articles click here.
Facebook has launched a host of ad formats and targeting options for publishers to monetize Instant Articles. Besides the regular formats, Facebook also allows marketers partner with Publishers to publish branded content obviously with certain limitations.