Adding Facebook Instant Articles from WP to FB

Facebook Instant Articles (FBIA) is a new project by Facebook. Instant Articles feature is a nice and easy addition to any website concerned with social media sharing and ease of shared content perception afterwards. FBIA could be set up on a modern WordPress site with help of dedicated official plugin.

When you share some blog post or an article on FB, FB would show light-speed Instant Article simplified version of shared page to mobile users, without leaving FB app. Instant articles format is optimized for fast viewing inside FB. The idea is similar to Google AMP somehow. But FBIA don’t impact search ranks yet. Still many ppl believe they will do good to your site and provide better shared content browsing experience.

To know how it works, check video below, the FBIA presentation site or open this article shared on WebProm FB page with your mobile FB application.

I love Facebook, so decided to give it a try. I can tell, it was easy to implement.And approval came fast. Do not believe all kinds of blogs telling about minimal 50 articles limit to get verified. These days the limit is only 10 articles to be prepared before submission.FBIA Approval Request with 10 Instant Articles

WordPress plugin for Instant Articles does most of the job. Because it’s  still raw and under heavy development, there are some problems, but mostly with an uncommon code of your website pages. For example, currently it can’t decode Vimeo video, but YouTube video should be OK.

Article with errors will produce an error notification in FB Page’s publishing tool, you’ll have a chance to tweak it manually from Facebook page settings and to publish. But you could also train your WP plugin with custom rules to bypass code parts causing errors upon submission. Such errors could be removed with Custom transformer rules WordPress plugin’s setting (read more on using this feature in Fix CSS blog FBIA custom transformer rules article).

One of important requirements for FBIA: they must feature the same content as your related web page copy. So try not to remove content that causes errors upon submission, but to fix these errors, preferably once and for all (via Custom transformer rules). Take care on preparing error-free articles before submitting to review.

For example Vimeo video iframe embed could still be enabled if surrounded by <figure class="op-interactive"></figure> tag when tweaking the Instant Article code on your FB page or just enclose embed iframe in WordPress with <div class="interactive"></div>, which should convert fine into op-interactive class.

To your Facebook page you may aggregate feeds from several WordPress sites. In FB page settings you can add one automatic feed. But if you authorize the plugin on several sites with the same page FB app ID, all your sites feeds would come to your designated FB page. Feeds are created by WordPress Instant Articles plugin. Their default URL looks like web-design.co.il/feed/instant-articles.

Each site could have its own design of published Instant Articles. Styles are set inside FB page settings  and called from website’s WP plugin’s settings.

FB Instant Articles Features

Your WordPress featured image will be on top of page and on tap will populate full mobile screen. It will animate if you tilt your phone from side to side. In-fact all images from web page could open full screen and animate.

WordPress Gallery must convert to FBIA slideshow. It doesn’t start automatically, but arrows would designate touch scroll possibility to move between slides. Modern WP themes should do OK, but it’s error-prone feature and must be checked well.

If you have some kind of unusual / non-valid code on your site’s page, like some HTML, PHP, CSS, JS code examples, you’ll need to put a special attentions to converting / formatting this piece. FBIA could understand only page code defined in their conversion rules. But rules could be extended inside WP plugin.

FB Audience Network Ad inside Instant ArticleFB Ads Inside Instant Articles

It’s very easy to setup Facebook ads from Audience Network (Facebook own ads network). In fact ads added automatically to your  Instant Articles after a fast and easy setup. You’ll have to create FB app for that. It will provide stats and settings. By the way Facebook now has mobile website ads possibility, so you could setup that too on your website. It’s still in Beta, but they take any publishers in to participate.

I hope they will extend their Ads Network to Desktop websites too. Maybe after successful mobile web test… Their ads look good on a big screen too and nothing would stop them to expand. Google AdSence domination is unbearable. Facebook is a better and smarter company.

So with ads app added to your FB page, Facebook will put ads automatically into Instant Articles. Or you may specify locations inside the IA code.  (For mobile web ads you must specify locations in the code manually, no automatic inclusion,)

More Info on FBIA

Get the latest updates on Instant articles from dedicated Facebook Page, read official documentation and sign up for instant articles with one of your FB pages.

Fix CSS blog provides more technical information and custom transformer rules example to fix most common FBIA conversion errors in WordPress.

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