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Configuring Your Site for Facebook Instant Articles

Facebook Instant Articles has become a key player in the article and editorial game. It's important that now, more than ever, you have a site optimized for Instant Articles. Brand and editorial awareness, as well as revenue, are the main benefits to getting this right.


Step 1. Sign up for Facebook Instant Articles

You can do this by following Facebook's instructions located here.

Once you select your Page, accept the terms and click Access Instant Articles Tools. A pop-up notification will prompt you to click Continue. Facebook will then take you back to your Page where we can begin to get the configuration in place.

Step 2. Configure Your Page's Instant Articles Basic Functions to Get Approved

2.1. Go to your Page's Publishing Tools. You'll now see that there's a new segment called Instant Articles located in the left-hand menu. Click on Configuration.

2.2. Go to Tools and make sure you fulfill all of the following steps described below (2.4.–2.6.) to add the meta tag code that Facebook gives you to your site.

2.3. Return back to the Facebook configuration page to finalize connecting your site. Add the domain of your site in the URL field shown below and click Claim URL.

2.4. In the Layout & Design tool, choose Top Bar, insert a Header Code element, and paste the meta tag provided by Facebook (as seen in the previous screenshot).

2.5. Connect your site's RSS Feed to Facebook Instant Articles. You can find your site's RSS Feed by appending /feeds/feed.rss to your site's main URL. Insert that URL into the RSS Feed URL field under the Production RSS Feed menu. Click Save.

This is optional, but we do recommend that you do it.

2.6. In the Styles menu, click on default. When the menu opens up, click on Logo. Upload your site's logo to ensure approval.

Weird as it may sound, you won't get approved if you don't put a logo in place.

Step 3. Submit 10 Articles for Review

Now that you've configured the basics, you need to go into your RebelMouse site and submit 10 articles for Instant Articles approval.

Submitting articles is as easy as toggling Facebook Instant Articles on in each article and clicking Publish (or Update if you're editing an existing article) in the Entry Editor.

In the Entry Editor, click on the Social Copy icon to access these settings. Then toggle on the Facebook Instant Articles option.

If you find a red warning message about needing to renew a token, please:

  1. Ask your Account Manager or RebelMouse Support to make sure your Facebook Page ID is added to our backend. You can find your ID using this link.
  2. Once confirmed, click Renew from an account that has administrative access to the Facebook Page we're connecting to.

Once the token has been set, this is how your Facebook Instant Articles toggle should look.

Step 4. Getting Approved

The process of getting approved for Instant Articles takes a little bit of time. You'll need to submit 10 articles and approval can take anywhere from 3–5 business days. Facebook will notify you once you're approved for publishing.

In your Facebook Page's Publishing Tools, make sure there are no errors with the articles you're trying to submit. If you have questions about any errors that come up, please contact your RebelMouse Account Manager and we'll help you solve them.

Usually, no errors are shown because we've worked on sending out-of-the-box HTML versions of the articles you're publishing that are suitable for Facebook Instant Articles.

You can easily take the articles you submitted live (or any new ones you might've published while you were waiting for approval) by selecting them via the left checkboxes and clicking Publish.

Step 5. Mandatory Business Manager/Monetization Manager Facebook Upgrade

Facebook has been strongly communicating that they want all Pages on their Business Manager and Monetization Manager by February 2018.

It's key that your Page is managed by this platform, so please make sure you get this done as soon as possible. We have a full step-by-step tutorial on how to activate them if you need guidance. You can find it here.

Step 6. Monetizing with Facebook Audience Network Ads

Monetizing your Instant Articles is the most important step of completing the setup. The opportunities and revenue that come hand in hand with Facebook Instant Articles are no longer a surprise. Facebook is actively investing in creating new ad spaces within their platform, as well as providing you with a superior array of native ad placements.

To get started on monetizing your Facebook Instant Articles, go to your Facebook Page, click Publishing Tools, and then Monetization. Tick the box at the top to agree to the terms, and then click Get Started.

Enabling monetization through Instant Articles will automatically create a Facebook Instant Articles app.

You can find your app here under the following naming convention: Your Page's Name - Instant Articles.

After opening up your app, go to Settings and make sure you fill out the App Domains field (e.g., lovemeow.com or ecowatch.com or loveisfluid.rebelmouse.com).

If you're getting approved before going live with your finalized domain address, you can set this all up with your temporary RebelMouse address. Make sure that once your finalized domain is live, you update the Apps Domain field with the new URL. Otherwise, Instant Articles will no longer work for you.

Fill out the following fields as well:

  • Privacy Policy URL
  • Contact Email (Make sure the current entry is still correct.)

Before leaving this page, you'll also have to add a platform. Click + Add Platform at the bottom of the page, select Website, and then enter your site's URL.

Make sure to click Save before leaving the page.

Please also remember to take your app live by going to App Review and clicking Confirm to make your app public.

There are two ways of monetizing with Facebook Instant Articles, and it's wholly dependent on what Facebook gave you when you created your app.

Option A) Ad Spaces

Option B) Simple Ads

Please click on the option listed above that matches what you have in your app. The links will take you directly to the instructions you need to follow.

Option A) Ad Spaces

1. In your app, click Audience Network, and then Ad Spaces using the left-hand menu.

Note: Don't worry if you don't see Ad Spaces in your app. Some earlier versions of the app may not include it and will direct you to create an Ad Placement instead. If that's your situation, jump to Option B in this tutorial.

2. Click Create Ad Space to create your first Facebook Audience Network (FAN) Ad Space.

You'll be prompted to enter a name and a brief description of the ad. It can be anything that's simple for you to recognize, but we recommend establishing a naming convention that you and your team will always adhere to.

3. Once you're done, you'll be prompted to create an Ad Placement inside of your Ad Space.

Facebook offers three types of display formats for ads: Banner, Interstitial, and Native. (There's another type called Recirculation, which is in beta, and we'll cover it later on in this article.)

Regardless of format, there's no need to upload new creative content — ads in the Audience Network use the same images you use for your ads on Facebook. For more information, you can read Facebook's FAN ad guide here.

4. For Banner Ads, you can select if you want the ad to refresh after X seconds, or if you want the ad refresh rate to be handled by mediation.

5. For Native Ads, you can toggle on or off whether you want carousel and video ads to be displayed.


6. For Interstitial Ads (which will only work in the Facebook app), you can choose whether videos autoplay or not, as well as set frequency capping and connection type settings.

7. All types of ads will allow you to either optimize for CPM, optimize for fill, or to set a balance of CPM and fill at the same time. You can learn more about optimization behavior here.

8. Once created, this is how your Ad Space will look (please ignore the disabled icon in this example):

9. As mentioned above, there's also a new beta ad format called Recirculation Ads, which are ads that appear at the bottom of an Instant Article as a sponsored module with a small headline titled "From Our Sponsors."

This is still in beta, but we highly recommend trying it out. The process for creating a recirculation ad is very similar to what we've described above for the Banner, Interstitial, and Native formats:

  1. Click Create Ad Placement.
  2. Name your placement (e.g., "Pub Name — Recirculation Ad").
  3. Select Banner as your format and click Save.

You can now use this placement ID for your recirculation ad unit! Though please bear in mind that recirculation ads are not visible from the Pages Manager. Please check them via Ad Spaces and the Facebook app or mobile site view.

10. To implement these ads on your site, you'll need help from the RebelMouse team. Send the placement IDs to your Account Manager and we'll input them in our back end. Placement IDs are located in your Ad Placement and look like this: 123456789101112_125xxxx34687343.

Option B) Simple Ads

Whether you get option A or option B depends entirely on Facebook. The easier version to set up ads for is going to let you create an ad directly, like this:

Step 7. Facebook SDK for JavaScript or Facebook App ID and Secret

If you have a RebelMouse Account Manager, please provide them with the Facebook App ID and App Secret so they can add it to our backend.

You can find your Page's app here. Go to Settings, and then Basic to retrieve both.

Otherwise, there's an easy way to set up the Facebook SDK for JavaScript quickly, which is needed for proper tracking of your Instant Articles. Ideally, the best method is by providing your App ID and App Secret, since the SDK method might cause conflicts.

1. Choose Web as your platform, enter your site's URL, and click Save.

2. Facebook will then ask you to implement the Facebook SDK for JavaScript. First, click Copy Code.

Next:

  • Log in to your RebelMouse site.
  • Click on the hamburger menu (☰) to open the left-hand navigation menu.
  • Navigate to the Layout & Design tool.
  • Open up the left-hand navigation menu again and select Post Page. If you're on Social UX, go to Social Stream Element instead.

  • Click on the Column, and then click + ADD ELEMENT in the top-left corner.

  • Select Custom HTML and proceed to paste the code there. You can also type in a friendly name to easily identify that custom code in the future.

That's it! The Facebook SDK for JavaScript is now installed.

Remember to click Save before leaving the Layout & Design tool.

Step 8. Setting up the Facebook Pixel

To properly track the activity on your Facebook Instant Articles (page views, specifically), and any FAN ads you implement on the mobile version of your site, the Facebook Pixel needs to be set up. This is a key part of correctly setting up analytics.

1. Go to the Facebook Pixel tab in the Business Manager for your Facebook Page. If it's your first time and you've never created a pixel, you'll be prompted to do so.

Follow the steps Facebook provides — it's a pretty straightforward experience. You can only create one pixel per advertising account.

2. Once you're finished, you'll see your Facebook Pixel page start to populate in the Business Manager. The example account here has had a Facebook pixel installed for a while, so it has already gathered a significant amount of data.


Your own page will look much emptier at first, and it won't display "Pixel base code installed" until you actually put the code snippet in.

3. Next, click on Setup in the top-right corner to get the Facebook pixel code snippet. It will give you two options: Set up the code through a tag manager, or copy and paste the code — choose the latter.

4. Facebook will provide steps and the code that you can copy to your clipboard. Once you have it copied, open the Layout & Design tool on your own website.

5. Find the Top Bar page in the left-hand navigation menu of the Layout & Design tool. That's where you should paste this piece of code. It's the equivalent of a <head> tag.

6. Make sure that you select the Column in the Top Bar, and then click the + button in it. Next, click on the first puzzle piece at the bottom of the list, which will create a Header Code element.

7. Once created, you'll be able to paste the Facebook pixel code you copied into it.

8. Click Save in the top-right corner and voilá! All done.

And that's all it takes to get Facebook Instant Articles up and running smoothly!

Want more tutorials on Facebook Instant Articles? Click here to get your read on. Click here to learn more about our Ad Manager dashboard.

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