By @TheMarkDalton

Facebook has now finally opened its Instant Articles format to all developers. Instant articles means that publishers can show Facebook mobile users a fast and for the most part, a distraction free reading experience. Publishers can also monetise their content using Facebook’s Audience Network if they wish and measure page views through a range of analytic tools.

Most of us will have seen Instant Articles at some point before now. They have been used by a range of different select publishers such as Buzzfeed and they do exactly what they claim to do – load articles instantly. Publishers can add text, images, slideshows, audio captions, maps, video and of course support for Facebook likes and comments.

Opening Instant Articles to all publishers is a big move for the social network. Facebook has become one of the top referrers of traffic to news sites and blogs over the past number of years. When we launched Mark Dalton Media last week, 78% of traffic came from Facebook even though there were more people engaging on different platforms like Twitter.

What Are Instant Articles & Why Would I Bother Using Them?

Instant Articles have been built to tackle one problem in particular – slow loading times on the mobile web. Time has become our biggest commodity, we love time. Think of the last time your computer slowed down for a few moments – remember just how pissed off you were – that is how much we love time.

The world is moving faster than ever before, and because of how we now live it means that even taking 4-6 seconds to open an app is time consuming for most people. Does it stop us opening links? No. However having a tool like Instant Articles makes the experience so much better than before.

The Instant Article platform includes features such as auto-play video and tap-to-zoom image galleries. The content appears in a rich and distraction free format. John Roberts, Product Manager at Facebook explained more in a Facebook blog post:

Facebook’s goal is to connect people to the stories, posts, videos or photos that matter most to them. Opening up Instant Articles will allow any publisher to tell great stories, that load quickly, to people all over the world. With Instant Articles, they can do this while retaining control over the experience, their ads and their data.

Facebook has discovered some very interesting data while they have been testing with select partners over the past number of months. This is data that you as a publisher need to take heed of and make sure you don’t ignore!

  • Instant Articles receive 20% more clicks than mobile web articles from News Feed
  • Once someone clicks an Instant Article they are 70% less likely to abandon the article before reading
  • Instant Articles are share 30% more than mobile web articles

There is no real reason why you should ignore a feature like Instant Articles. If you are a publisher then it is a prime way to get more people reading your content and also a fantastic way to look at potentially monetising your content. So how hard is it to re-publish content from my blog to Instant Articles on Facebook?

Good news! It is not hard at all. Once you sign up and go through a some straight forward steps you will be good to go. Even better news for those who run a WordPress website, Facebook has been working with WordPress on a plugin to allow users to automatically add content to their Instant Article library on Facebook and share in Instant Article format from their WordPress blog.

Stay tuned to the blog on Friday morning, I will walk you through the entire process step by step on how you can get setup with Facebook’s Instant Article feature.

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