Learn all about Facebook’s publishing tool and how to install it so your posts load faster within the social network
Have you ever given up on opening a Facebook link on your phone because it took too long to load?
I have. And it wasn’t just once, it was several.
Now put yourself in the opposite place.
How many times has your audience given up on opening a link to your Facebook site because it took too long to load?
Maybe it’s not your fault (maybe your site isn’t slow) but the person’s own connection.
One way to fix this problem is Facebook Instant Articles.
In this article, Blue World City will make you learn what they are, why to use them, how to configure your site, and how to analyze the results.
What are Facebook Instant Articles?
If you opened the post through some Facebook mobile app, you’re probably already reading it in Instant Article format.
The literal translation is “flash articles”. In fact, the name fulfills its promise, as they are links that open instantly on your cell phone as if you hadn’t left Facebook.
And that’s right: you don’t leave Facebook.
An Instant Article is an HTML5 document that loads quickly within the application itself, without taking the user to the company website.
Maybe here you ask yourself: but doesn’t that hurt my metrics? Calm down, we’ll get there, I’ll talk about it below. 🙂
With Instant Articles, the page has a format predefined by Facebook but displays the same content.
Why Use Instant Articles: Some Reasons You Need To Know
The biggest advantage of using Instant Article on your website is that it is much faster to load and offers a much better user experience.
Take a test. Open an article with and one without an Instant Article and notice the difference in speed.
Because it’s hosted inside Facebook, there’s no way it can’t be faster.
This in itself is a great benefit to your website.
Now putting the advantages in numbers, we have some data from Facebook itself, showing that Instant Articles have:
- 10 times faster loading;
- Average text reading increases by 20%;
- 70% less chance of the user leaving the article;
- 30% more likely the user will share the article;
- Videos that play automatically (autoplay);
- Ease of zooming in images.
Tutorial: How to set up Instant Articles on your website in 6 steps
Getting started with Instant Articles on your website is not as complicated as it may sound. The biggest obstacle is not the number of steps but the time it takes Facebook to approve and the requirement that the links are in a perfect format.
Basically, the steps you need to follow are:
1. Register the fan page on Instant Articles
Access the link https://www.facebook.com/instant_articles/signup to register.
In this step, you will select which page you want to use to access the Instant Articles tools.
Once you’ve registered, it’s time to start creating the articles and preparing them for Facebook analysis. 2. Connect your website
You will need to authorize your site to start importing Instant Articles. This can be done manually or with a WordPress plugin.
In the first option, you will need to add the meta tag that is indicated on your Instant Article configuration page to the <head> tag in your website’s HTML code.
To connect to WordPress, you need to download and install a plugin on your blog. In step 4 there are details about this.
Follow the next steps:
- enter your website’s URL in the indicated field and click on “claim URL”;
- connect the production and development RSS feed. This address is usually yoursite.com/?feed=instant_articles.
3. Create style templates
Customize the look and feel of your articles with the Style Editor.
You can customize the Instant Articles style template to reflect the look and feel of your brand.
The tool is easy to use and there are several recommendations and tips from Facebook itself at https://developers.facebook.com/docs/instant-articles/design/creating-styles.
4. Create the first articles with the WordPress Instant Articles plugin
Now is the time you will need to format the articles and import them using API , RSS or WordPress plugin.
What I’m going to recommend here is the plugin, which is the simplest and fastest way:
1. To get started, download the plugin from https://br.wordpress.org/plugins/allfacebook-instant-articles/ and install it on your WordPress. This is the plugin we use on RD’s blog and it’s been working really well;
2. With the plugin installed, enter your Facebook Page ID number. You can find this number in the “Connect your website” section of the Instant Articles setup screen.
3. Enter your Google Analytics code in the plugin’s Google Tracking ID field. That way you’ll be able to measure the results of Instant Articles.
4. Ready! You can move to the next stage, which is…
5. Submit the articles for review
Once your first articles have been created or imported, you need to submit them for review.
Facebook requires a small sample to see if articles are set up correctly. Always check that they are correct before shipping to avoid rework.
Some of the most common mistakes are no logo and no captions on images.
You will be notified if Facebook finds other errors and your articles need some modification to be approved. The analysis takes between 3 and 5 working days.
6. Start publishing
If the articles are not approved, you will need to change them and resubmit for review until they are accepted.
But once approved, you are able to use Instant Articles. With the right settings, posts will be imported to Facebook and published in the new format.
Important: at least when we implemented Instant Articles on RD’s blog, this was only valid for new posts, published after plugin installation, or for updated posts.
That is, if you log into WordPress and update any information from a post, it will be imported and turned into an Instant Article.
Will Instant Articles be automatically published on the Facebook fan page?
Not automatically, but every time you post an article to your fan page, users who are connected to Facebook through a mobile app will view the content in Instant Article format.
Therefore, the tool does not publish automatically but transforms posts in this format when the link is published.
How to analyze Instant Articles results in Google Analytics
A very common question for those who think about installing Instant Articles is the analysis. Can I have the same depth of analysis as normal posts? Do I lose data because this format doesn’t take users to my website but leaves them on Facebook?
With the correct configuration of the plugin mentioned above, it is possible to analyze all the traffic of Instant Articles on your website in Google Analytics.
There is a very simple way to do this.
To find out how much of your traffic originates from Instant Articles, follow the path Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Source/Media. Pay attention to the “Instant Article” origin.
Click on that source and on the next screen select the secondary dimension “landing page”. The report will be unfolded and will show the results by pages of your site.
And then? Is it worth using Instant Articles?
Our experience with Instant Articles has been very satisfying, mainly because this content format focuses primarily on the user.
What is talked about a lot is in relation to conversions. Some companies end up suffering from this and having fewer conversions than on their pages.
That’s because the format doesn’t allow the use of banners, as many sites do. In this case, the only means of conversion is to create text CTAs.
But you can also use Instant Articles’ native CTAs.
There are 3 types:
- CTA to like the page
- CTA to download an app
- CTA for email registration
In our case, we chose the CTA for email registration, which makes the most sense for our business.
That way you can continue to drive conversions and further improve the user experience on your site.
Is that you? Have you tested Instant Articles on your website? Tell us about your experience with the tool in the comments.
Enjoy and read more about using Facebook for your business. Download the Introduction to Facebook Marketing eBook for free and learn about the best practices to start generating business on the most popular social network on the planet.