It’s a Facebook Instant Article Guide feature that allows brand pages to create interactive articles that load in an instant (pun intended).
Instant Articles were launched in May 2015 to a limited amount of publishers including The New York Times, NBC News, and BBC News, among others. It opened to all publishers in April 2016.
The announcement that Instant Articles were being opened up to all publishers came in February 2016, and they were officially opened for all on April 12, at Facebook’s F8 conference.
A Facebook-native publishing platform has been rumored since the social network changed its News Feed algorithm to favor “quality content” in 2013. Since that update, Facebook has become one of the top referrers of traffic to news sites and blogs of all sizes, and in the summer of 2015, traffic analytics company Parsely revealed that Facebook had even overtaken Google as the number 1 referrer of traffic to news sites.
Performance matters, and the big players on the web are addressing performance in their own ways. Google’s answer comes in the form of its controversial AMP; a publishing format which offers a smooth experience for their mobile search results. Google even rank listings that implement AMP more favorably.
Facebook, similarly, has devised its own initiative with Instant Articles allowing it to serve shared web content on its mobile app instantly with a native-mobile experience. Content that has been validated as being an Instant Article will be marked with the lightning emblem when it’s shared anywhere on the Facebook feed.
Facebook Instant Article Guide
Facebook Instant Articles poses some limitations that could be a stumbling block for some websites. For example, it doesn’t support the pre element which is a common tag used on development blogs to render code snippets. Articles that contain this tag are invalid as per the Instant Articles standard. For this reason alone you might not see sites like Envato Tuts+ or Smashing Magazine on Instant Articles.
Facebook has made Instant Articles available to publishers of all sizes. But what does that mean for smaller publishers?
In this post, we will guide you through the ins and outs of Facebook publishing and how to get started. Unlike most of Facebook’s features, Instant Articles aren’t something that you can use straight away, they do require some preparation.
There are many pros & cons of using Facebook Instant articles. The pros outweigh the cons in the majority of cases especially since Instant Articles are not too old and there is a great amount of room for improvement & innovation in the coming days. Instant Articles are very crucial for countries like Brazil, India, Philippines & many other countries where low connectivity is an issue.