Facebook Instant Articles – What do I need to know?

What are Facebook Instant Articles? A few days ago,  I would have said  “I don’t know”. It’s hard to keep up with technology. Things are changing every single day and sometimes, it feels like we’re always one step behind – So I decided to do some digging. I wanted a simplified explanation of what Facebook instant articles was all about. Sadly, the majority of articles I came across explained it more from a hardcore marketing point of view or tech-intensive point of view.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that there’s an audience for those styles of writing – but I firmly believe that there’s a huge audience that also wants these concepts explained in layman’s terms. I found myself having to refer multiple articles to get a better idea of how it worked. Then I found this very simple youtube video of what it was all about.

Facebook Instant Articles is not new technology – it’s about a year old. My interests, lie primarily with UX design, design thinking and SEO. I do, however, like to be in the loop about emerging technologies and try to stay up to date. Looks like this, however, slipped through the cracks.

The Nutshell: FB Instant Articles, is a platform that allows FB posts to load at 10 times the speed when browsed on a mobile device. What this means, is unlike traditional links to articles, which can take quite a while to load on a mobile device, FB instant articles load really quickly. Facebook, also allows you to modify the format of your posts so as to personalize your branding and this, almost makes the post look  like a micro-site vs just a post. Also, integrating your website with FB is fairly simple to do. Especially if you have a WordPress website (Sorry people using other platforms). You can download the required WP plugin here.

The amazing Harsh Agarwal has a super easy tutorial on how to carry out the integration process here. Just follow his instructions and you should be good to go.

Please note: Integration, doesn’t mean that when you publish a post on your website, it automatically publishes the same post on FB. You will still have to manually publish your post to Facebook. What integration does, is simply add the post that you published on your website to the instant articles library associated with your FB page so that whenever enabled readers come across the URL of your article while using Facebook, the article will be rendered as an Instant Article.

Update:

Please note that users who integrate this plugin, do not have to repost their articles on Facebook once they’ve published it in blog form, on their website. Turns out that some of the instructions on the FB dev page for Instant Articles had been confusing people (Myself included)