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What is it?

As with Apple’s News, Facebook Instant Articles was built to overcome the problem of slow loading times for pages on the mobile web.

It includes features such as auto-play video and tap-to-zoom picture galleries.

Here’s Facebook’s explanation of the benefits of IA in detail 

Here’s an independent overview of Instant Articles from Buffer 

The Instant Articles blog, with updates and guidance, is here.

Should you use it?

The idea is, as we covered in Chapter 3 of MMJ, to reach audiences that won’t find you any other way.

This journalism.co.uk article explains why publishers are using Facebook, among other platforms, to do that. Key points are:

Reach

Facebook has possibly the largest online audience in the world

Publishing environment

Like Apple, Facebook promises you total control over the look and feel of your articles, and offers what it calls “a rich suite of multimedia tools to create dynamic, interactive stories.”

Revenue

Keep all the revenue from your direct-sold adds, or monetise content through the facebook Audience Network

Analytics

Use your own web-based analytics systems or use third-party providers

How do you publish on it?

Facebook’s quick start guide is here.

Here’s a summary of the steps involved:

  • Log in to your Facebook account and click the link facebook.com/instant_articles/signup
  • Select the Facebook page you want to publish on (it has to be a page, not just an account)
  • Claim your url
  • From the settings tab of the Facebook page, click on Instant Articles
  • Connect your WordPress (or other) site to the Facebook page
  • Add your team and give them roles
  • Create style templates for your instant articles with the style editor
  • Create and format articles
  • Submit at least five articles for approval
  • Await approval, then start publishing

Points at which you might need tech help

To connect your site, and to claim your url, you need to add some code to the <head>tag in your website’s html, so you’ll need access to it.

You’ll need to either use Facebook’s UPI, set up an RSS feed, or use the WordPress plugin to funnel articles to Facebook.

Facebook’s detailed explanation of how to do each is here.

Using the WordPress plugin for Facebook Instant Articles

Download the plug in

(see Chapter 8 of MMJ for how to do that)

You’ll find more information on installing this particular plugin here.

Once installed, open the plugin and follow the instructions to configure it for story style and analytics.

Facebook’s run-down is here.

There’s also a step-by-step guide from Buffer here.

Next: How to publish with Google AMP