With over 1.5 billion active monthly users Facebook is a hugely important social media platform for nearly all businesses. A few weeks ago I wrote an article about how to target the right customer on Facebook and in this article I am going to tell you about Facebook Instant Articles (FIA), a new feature by Facebook that delivers a better user experience on smartphones.
What is Facebook Instant Articles (FIA)?
This story will sound familiar: you use your smartphone to log onto your Facebook timeline and you see a post from one of your favourite pages with a link to an interesting article on their website. You then click the link and it directs you to the article but it takes an age to load. By the time it does, you had the kettle boiled, the tea was made and you forgot what the article was even about. FIA is a solution to that problem.
FIA is a new way for any publisher, from news websites, entertainment websites to businesses, to create fast interactive articles on Facebook that delivers a brilliant user experience on smartphones. With FIA, Facebook have leveraged the same technology they use to display photos and videos so quickly in the Facebook app and articles/content opens directly within the app. As a Facebook user on your smartphone, when you click a link to an article published using FIA, that article will open within 300 milliseconds. There is literally no wait time for the user and early indications suggest that readers love the speed.
This service was originally trialed with some large publishers such as National Geographic but it is now available to all publishers and businesses alike.
Why Should A Business Use FIA?
The goal of Facebook Instant Articles is to give Facebook users the best user experience when they are consuming content on their smartphone. If you are a business owner/manager and you blog on a regular basis then you should be using it because the engagement figures are very impressive:
- FIA is 10 times faster than standard mobile web articles, i.e if the article opens on the publishers website rather than through FIA.
- Due to the speed, 20% more Facebook Instant Articles are read on average.
- Amazingly, 70% of people are less likely to abandon the article.
- The fast, immersive reading experience inspires people to share Instant Articles 30% more often than mobile web articles on average, amplifying the reach of your stories in News Feed.
Link Facebook Instant Articles To Your Website CMS
The good news is that Facebook Instant Articles can be synced with your existing website content management system (CMS), for example WordPress. In WordPress, when you add an article to your site you can select that it will be enabled for FIA and for Google AMP (I will talk about Google AMP in a future article). This option gives you the control to decide whether you want to use FIA for an article or not. If you select the option and you publish an article on your website it will automatically be sent to Facebook so it is available to you for publishing on the social media platform through Facebook Instant Articles.
How Do You Register For Facebook Instant Articles?
To avail of this new feature, you will need to be approved by Facebook and you will need to submit 10 recent articles (This is a new service and the criteria may change).
Facebook provide a quickstart guide for Facebook Instant Articles which outlines what you need to do to set it up and you can begin the sign up process here. At Enable Marketing, we are using a WordPress platform and we used a plugin called Pagefrog which can save you a lot of time when setting it up. The set up was relatively straight forward but it does take time and depending on what CMS you are using you may need to get assistance from a developer or someone that is familiar with the back-end of a website.
If you spend time updating your website with good quality content then you should definitely avail of Facebook Instant Articles. Once activated you can post a blog article on Facebook and your customers or followers can enjoy a fast, enjoyable user experience on their smartphone and hopefully you will enjoy an increase in engagement and exposure for your brand. Good luck with it and happy publishing.
Featured Image: Geralt / Pixable.com
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