What is an Instant Article?
In our current digital age, it’s not enough that we have worlds of information at our fingertips…we want it now. Did you know that if a web page takes longer than 3 seconds to load 40% of people will leave? To put that in financial figures, if your site was bringing in $100,000 a day, every 1-second delay in load time could cost you up to $2.5 million each year in lost sales.
Whether you are a small or large company that percentage of annual net loss is too big to overlook. So, you may be wondering how does site load time relate to Facebook’s Instant Articles? Well, social media now drives 31% of all referral traffic, and many companies know that a simple advertisement is not the way to get people on your page. You have to give them something that provides them real value. Whether you are a media outlet or a brand that chooses to share valuable content on your social platforms,informative, funny, captivating articles are the way to go, and that is where Facebook Instant Articles comes into play. Your audience has a litany of options when it comes to what they choose to read on social media, if your article is taking to long to load then what will keep them from moving on to the next article?
The Answer: Articles Instantly
Facebook’s new feature allows you to create articles that will load instantly – essentially that is. This is achieved by limiting the articles to an HTML5 format, which provides load speeds up to 10 times faster than a standard article. The content can be branded and customized to a degree, but there are limitations. For instance, the article will not automatically redirect people to your site, which could prove to be a drawback for some.
Yea or Nay?
The more information, the better. In order to help you determine if Facebook Instant Articles are right for you, let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks.
- Superior load times
- Improved experience while remaining interactive
- Instant Articles wont receive special treatment by Facebook’s algorithm
- Facebook’s Instant Articles drive better engagement
- Ads are allowed
- Metrics are still possible
- Your article stays on Facebook, no automatic redirection to your site
- Instant Articles must be approved before publishing
- It takes more knowledge of code than a typical article
How To Get Started
You have to sign up, and choose which page you want to use Instant Articles on. Once you’ve chosen which page select “Access Instant Articles Tools.” If you’re working with a team it is important that the right people have access.
Facebook needs to know which domain will be used for the Instant Articles feature, and they need proof of ownership for that domain. A developer may be helpful at this point, but essentially the code under “Claim Your URL” needs to be pasted into the <head> portion of your site.
Preparing your articles. Because you have several options when it comes to converting your content into Instant Articles, things can get pretty tricky here, we recommend visiting the official Facebook sight in order to get a clear walk-through her.
Brand your content. You will be a little limited as to how much you can make your Instant Articles reflect the overall persona of your brand, but do take advantage of the options that are available to you.Fifth:
Time to review. Like it is with any article, before you publish your content you will want to review it. Thankfully, there is a simple “Submit for review” button that you can click to preview your article before it is published.Final Thoughts Before Publishing:
- Make sure your analytic tracking is in place, you want to be sure that all the time you have invested in using this new tool is paying off
- Don’t limit your content, Instant Articles is intended to load the same amount of content you would normally produce, only faster
- Double-check that all included media content populates in the Instant Article
This new feature will take some work to get started, and will require diligence to ensure that your content is being displayed as intended. However, that shouldn’t detract you from trying it out. Faster load times could help solidify a positive experience for your audience and keep them coming back for more quality, stress-free content.
Ingrid Gee, Internet Marketing Consultant. Blue Dress® Marketing, an Internet Marketing Company headquartered in Knoxville, TN. Internet Marketing Developed, Implemented and Managed to Full Circle! Organic Internet Search Engine Guru. Turn Key Internet Optimization Programs Placing You Everywhere and Anywhere You Need to Be Online®