09 Feb 2017 by Teodor Scorpan in Content Marketing

What is an Instant Article?

Instant Articles is a mobile optimized html5 document, which radically improves user experience for mobile users, and it is available for everyone using Facebook’s mobile app (iOS or Android). It allows publishers to host their content on Facebook instead of sharing links pointing to their website.

Instant Articles keep users effectively inside the Facebook app, and due to the fast loading time and much better user experience, a higher percentage of the users who clicked on the article will actually read the content, but these users won’t visit the publisher’s website directly.

Why does it matter?

Smartphone users spend over 80% of their in-app time on just 5 apps. If you can’t figure out how to be one of those apps, then it will be really hard to get in front of your audience on their phones. Since Facebook is the most used application, chances are that most of your mobile readers frequently use it.

Advantages of Instant Articles

  • Fast mobile performance (10x faster than mobile browsers)
  • Rich storytelling capabilities (high-resolution photos, videos, interactive maps)
  • Branded design Customized visual display
  • No additional steps in the publishing workflow (automatically generated Instant Articles)
  • Users don’t have to change their sharing habits
  • Users are more likely to click and share Instant Articles with their friends
  • Better way for publishers to monetize mobile users

How does Facebook instant article work?

Instant Articles supports publishing directly from your Content Management System, so there’s no need to republish articles on Facebook, since it is automatically syndicated with Instant Articles.

Facebook has a review process to verify that all Instant Articles generated from your websites are formatted according to the community standard.

If an article appears in the user’s newsfeed and this article is associated with an Instant Article, the mobile user will see the Instant Article format. If not, he will be redirected to the web version. Instant Article does not automatically create a new post on your Facebook Page.

If the user shares the instant article outside of Facebook then the article link that points to the web version will be shared. Monetize Instant Articles

On Facebook’s platform, advertisers can effectively target and track mobile ads, so syndicating content with Instant Articles is a good way to better monetize mobile users.

According to Facebook, in Instant Articles, one large and one or two small banners can be included for every 350 words of content. If your content consists primarily of images or media, ads must not exceed 15% of the content. Facebook also allows publishers to place video ads at the bottom of the articles. However, adding sponsored content is currently just a plan.

These ads are placed automatically, but they still provide the flexibility to manually determine the placement within your articles. Publishers can sell ads themselves and keep 100% of revenue or let Facebook handle ad selling in which case the publisher will keep 70% of the revenue.

Related articles can be added to the bottom of each instant article, which provides an opportunity to keep users reading more and eventually generating more ad revenue since more ads are being served. Publishers taking part in the early tests reported that Instant Articles generated the same amount of ad revenue on a per-view basis.

Facebook also lets publishers put a newsletter sign-up message to the bottom of their Instant Article, providing a great opportunity to capture leads and build more direct relationship with their readers. This feature is crucial for subscription-based publishers. You can even add links pointing to other articles or landing pages on your website.

Tags: Facebook Content