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What are Instant Articles? How do we create them?

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What are Instant Articles?

Facebook has a new feature to make our lives easier! Usually, when you share a URL of a blog/article on Facebook, the user opens the URL and is redirected to a new page to read the article. If you as a publisher, sign up with Facebook Instant Articles, your blog will open within the app itself. This is a Facebook native way to distribute the content.

What are the things to keep in mind?

-The article you publish must be present in your own website as well.

-For now, Instant articles are only for users with the following:

  • iPhone Facebook for iPhone Version 30.0 and iOS 7.0
  • Android Facebook for Android Version 57 and Android Jelly Bean

-The post must be shared on the Facebook page as well.

What is special about Instant Articles?

They are optimized for faster mobile performance, and has a specialized display for the story you have to tell. It also uses a markup language similar to XML which it uses to apply styles to the content.

An important fact that you should know about ranking of articles is that News Feed ranks them according to the number of users that engaged with them, in terms how how much time was spent reading these articles.

Approvals, Guidelines, all the Serious Stuff!

Instant Articles users must comply with the Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR)Facebook Page Terms and Instant Articles policies.

Facebook loves content that is educational, helpful to people or funny.

It is imperative to know that:

-Static Videos

-Static Image Polls

-Content made solely for the purpose of Engagement, i.e., for link clicks, likes, comments or shares

-Slideshows

-Videos played on Loop

-Content consisting of still or moving images with text overlay

-Content that is distributed for compensation

CANNOT be monetized. These are Facebook’s Monetization Eligibility Standards.

Certain content which discusses social issues, tragedies, conflicts, or is sexually suggestive or explicit could be rejected by Facebook.

However, if you feel that your content has been rejected for a wrong reason, you can file for a direct appeal. Facebook will then have an even closer look at your content in order to decide if it finds it eligible for approval or not.

Facebook’s Community Standards must also be followed which include Safety (in order to prevent real world harm), Voice (Facebook only removes content if it will actually cause harm, otherwise it always allows content, which it thinks could be beneficial to the people). Facebook gives the authority to block, unfollow or hide people’s posts so that people can control how they want to use Facebook. If people continuously violate Facebook’s policies, then Facebook can restrict their ability to post on the platform. As mentioned before, no objectionable content should be posted on the platform, as it will be blocked sooner or later.

Next, you must adhere to Facebook Payments policy, for which you need to be above 18. Any taxes, details of transaction, additional terms, and subscriptions must be paid attention to. Subscriptions can be cancelled any time before the trial period ends. Thereafter, you could be charged. Person-to-person (P2P) transfer is only available to people above the age of 18, who are living in the US or Canada. Payment is allowed through a number of different methods, like credit cards, debit cards, Facebook Gift cards, as well as other payment methods. You authorize Facebook to charge you the full amount of the transaction, as well as to collect and store the transaction information. It must be kept in mind that Facebook can revoke your eligibility to use Facebook Payments at any time, and can cancel a transaction that violates its policies. Facebook is not responsible for any third party transactions that you do or any disputes arising from them. It is, however your responsibility to inform Facebook if some problematic transaction has taken place from your account.

And there is more.

Instant Articles Policies

These must be complied with in order to post your instant article on Facebook.

A. Content Policies

These mainly concern your website, and specify that the website which is associated with the use of Instant articles should be your own, and should be easily usable, and should be fast loading. It shouldn’t contain any broken links. It should be having considerable amount of traffic before you try Instant Articles. It should be easily navigable and there shouldn’t be conditions to log in before accessing Instant articles, or anything deceptive at all.

B. Article Experience

The format of your Instant Articles should be proper. It must contain:

The link to the web based article in the metadata of the <head> section.

The Header, which contain certain elements. These are in the <header> section of the <article> in the <body> of the document.

Body content Formatting using the <p> tags while images and videos are coded by <figure> elements.

  • You may include a link to your publication’s social media presence.
  • Don’t enable the full-screen tap-to-expand function on images smaller than 1024X1024 (with 2048X2048 being the preferred image size), and videos smaller than 640X480. 

C. Ads Experience

  • Text links and Ads must be marked as sponsored.
  • The aspect ratio of the Ads should be 2:3.
  • Ads shouldn’t be included on the first screen. If the video is the only content in the article, it shouldn’t include ads.
  • If the article consists primarily of images or media, Ads must not exceed 20% of the content. In addition, you can include an extra ad at the bottom of your article provided no other ads appear on the same screen.

D. Ad Sales and Serving

  • Ads must be sold on a direct basis, and not through a third party.
  • If any third party acts on your behalf, it should comply with the laws and guidelines, as well as get consent for the collection as well as use of user information from the Instant Articles.

E. Things You Should Know

  • Facebook can go against your use of Instant Articles if they violate our policies.
  • It can prohibit you from using Instant Articles if they are inactive, or have very minimal readership, or if the article contains stuff that is offensive.

Start Submitting Here!

To create an Instant Article, you will first have to sign up for it.

After Signing up, go to Publishing Tools and Select Configuration, in order to use the tools needed to set you up.

In order to customize your Instant articles, you will need to have a logo which should be common to all articles. This is essential in order to send the article onto review from Facebook. Select Style according to what you would want the Instant Article to look like.

Now, connect your website to Facebook, by either installing the plugin, or pasting a code in the <head> section of the HTML of the website. To connect multiple Facebook pages, enter the tags just once in the HTML section of your website and separate the different Page ID’s with a comma (this is only if you would like to register with one URL).

Next, submit 10 Articles for review. It takes 4-5 business days for Facebook to review the article. Finally, go to Configuration, and then Submit for Review.

To share the Instant article, just compose a new post, add the article link, share the Article.

You can download the Pages Manager app, and then check that all the images, videos, and text match those in the Mobile web version of the article.

Lastly, What are the points to keep in mind before sending your article for Review?

  • The content should be high-quality, easy-to-read, for good engagement, and sharing of the article.
  • It should follow all the policies and guidelines mentioned above.
  • Use interesting images, videos and embed your social media handles in the article.
  • The article shouldn’t be incomplete.
  • The website which the URL links to shouldn’t be broken.
  • No Ad should be on top, before any scrolling.
  • You can add different Call to actions (CTAs) that will enable the user to click and be redirected. They could be in the email newsletters, or in the form of app installs, or page likes.

What are the kind of Ads that Facebook allows?

Direct Sold

Publishers who have direct sold ads get to keep 100% of the revenue that is generated through them. Banners ads, video ads and animated ads can be served.

House Ads

House ads, meaning ads for promotion of a specific product/service of the website. These are allowed and are counted within the ad load of the publisher running them.

Native Formats

Native formats include Ads that are directly about the platform or context of the content of the article. However, these should be direct sold ads.

Branded Content/Paid Partnerships

Branded content can also be published as Instant Articles. They can mention a sponsor, or products from third parties.

What are the Ads that Facebook does not allow?

  • Ads that exceed 15% of the content, including images, video, etc.
  • Ads automated through third party vendors are not allowed.

What is the data that Facebook provides you once the Instant Article is published?

Clicks- The number of people who clicked and opened the article.

Time spent- The total time spent by people reading this article.

Scroll depth- How much people scrolled, and how many read the article till the end.

Happy Publishing!!

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