If you’ve never heard of Facebook Instant Articles before, don’t worry, it’s a new feature of Facebook that still has some bugs. It has some huge benefits though, and will gradually become something any website that uses content as a marketing strategy needs to be using. Let’s look at what it is, how it works and why you should be using it.
What is Facebook Instant Articles?
It’s a new way for Facebook to serve your content to people via their mobile phone. Whenever a link to one of your articles, or blogs, is shared via Facebook instead of it linking to your website, the content is served up on Facebook and formatted by Facebook. It opens instantly (hence the name) so people don’t have to wait for your website to download to their mobile device.
Once it has been set up, any link shared by anyone to one of your articles becomes a Facebook Instant Article.
It doesn’t affect how links to your articles work on a desktop browser; people still click through to your website as normal. It is purely for mobile users.
But I don’t even have a Facebook Page
That doesn’t matter. Facebook Instant Articles isn’t tied to a Facebook Page (although you do need to create one to set it up). The ‘Instant Articles’ links work whenever anyone shares your content via Facebook so, whether or not you actively use a Facebook Page for business, you should still set up Instant Articles.
Once a link to one of your articles has been shared, it will feature the lightning strike logo to signify it’s an ‘instant’ article.
How does it work?
You need to apply to become an Instant Articles publisher, and then set up an RSS feed of your content formatted to Facebook’s requirements. You can edit how your articles are displayed, change the fonts, colours and design, and even brand them with your logo.
If you want specific details on how to do it, we’ve written a ‘how to’ guide here.
What are the benefits?
Your content is much more shareable as it opens instantly for people. There is no wait for your content to download, or for your website to open. More than half a billion people access Facebook solely from their mobile phone. According to stats released by Facebook in Q4 2015, 90% of its daily visitors use their mobile. These people are not prepared to wait for websites to download. Unless your website opens on a mobile in under a second, your content is unlikely to be read by them.
If you’d like to know more about Facebook Instant Articles, and how we can set it up for you, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0345 621 4321.