6 Things Marketers Need To Know About Facebook Instant Articles


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Facebook launched a new feature called Instant Articles, a feature that quickly loads articles from external websites directly inside Facebook. As opposed to links to regular articles, Facebook Instant Articles open almost immediately. Facebook says articles will load 10x faster which makes it a much more enjoyable and snappy experience.

This feature has already been launched on several companies’ Facebook pages and on the latest Facebook app update but it’s only in beta stages at the moment. If you’d like to see it in action check out the Facebook articles on: The New York Times, National Geographic, Mashable, The Atlantic, and many more soon.

They’re soon opening the flood gates are there are six major things all marketers should know:

1. Only mobile to start

For the foreseeable future Instant Articles will only be available on mobile devices. Desktop users who click the same link will be sent to the original article on the website. Mobile users will be served the Instant Articles version.

2. You need to sign up

There’s a simple form to fill out if you think your content is right for instant articles. Fill out your name, email, company and Facebook page. Once you sign up they’ll email you with more information. The registration process will most likely change once it’s launched in April.

There is one hiccup though: you need 50 articles to be considered at the start. Facebook is essentially looking to expand their beta test and will only accept bigger publishers. If you don’t make the cut, don’t worry, the limit should be lifted eventually.

3. Add the code

In order to activate Instant Articles, you need to add specific markup code to your website’s framework. If you use Word Press, then you’re in luck because there’s a plugin already made to add the markup to your website (which you can find here).

Alternatively, it’s possible to get a developer to add the code to your website if it’s customizable. Non customizable platforms like Medium or Tumblr will have to wait until it’s implemented. There’s more information on adding the markup to your website on the official Facebook Instant Articles page.

4. Rich media is good-to-go

Facebook is looking to create a vivid story telling experience within Instant Articles. In order to do this they will support a number of rich media assets including: video, images, gifs, audio clips, maps, and slideshow.

5. Ads are built in

There will be ads available within Instant Articles which publishers keep 100% control of. Publishers who sell direct advertisements, use the GDN, or another platform can place them within ads. You can also join the Facebook Audience Network to sell any unsold inventory.

To display ads you must put them within an iframe, using an Ad element. More information on ads can be found: here

6. Add the analytics code

Each Instant Articles publisher will be given a dashboard which includes analytics for their articles. This will include clicks, time spent on articles, scroll depth and engagement with rich media.

Facebook instant articles

As well as the dashboard, all views of your instant articles can be tracked through any industry-standard analytics software (including Google Analytics). Much like ads, to get the benefit of analytics you need to display your snippet within an iframe markup using an Analytics element. Keep in mind that you’ll have to do the same for cookies (remarketing tags) as well.

Since Instant Articles skips loading your website, and opens it in Facebook instead, adding these tags are vital to tracking performance.

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Christian Sculthorp

Marketing Director, AgencyAnalytics

sculthorpseo

Christian Sculthorp is the marketing director at Agency Analytics, an all-in-one marketing dashboard for agencies. In a previous life he was an SEO consultant and can’t shake his devotion to organic rankings. When his marketing hat's not on you can find him watching the Jays, enjoying a nice Canadian.



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