The Current Climate of Facebook Instant Articles

When Facebook Instant Articles launched in 2015, it was limited to only a few publishers. The invite-only approach had both brands and new media companies excited for the next wave in mobile publishing. Soon, everyone with a Facebook Page could be eligible to publish Instant Articles, and as the years went on, the medium went through its own ups and downs. First, publishers experienced success with Instant Articles. Other times, Pages turned away from the platform citing a lack of tangible ROI.


Then came Facebook's industry-altering friends-and-family algorithm update in 2018, arriving in the aftermath of the platform's data scandal and fake news fallout. Today, Facebook's lurking data vulnerabilities have users and publishers discrediting the platform entirely, with some even spurring a #DeleteFacebook movement.

While it can be easy to de-prioritize the platform in your strategy for any of the aforementioned reasons, it is still a primary driver of traffic. Facebook is the most widely used social media platform by a large margin according to Pew Research. Instant Articles provides a lightning-fast experience that carries a lot of benefits for users on mobile — which is more than half of Facebook readers total. Pew data also shows that the amount of mobile readers has tripled since 2013, with 58% of people reading news on a mobile device.

Data from Pew Research Center shows Facebook still leads for net daily use over other major social platforms.

While the move to content diversification is important for all publishers, there's no reason to not take advantage of the audience that is on Facebook and deliver them the best mobile experience possible. Using the platform will also help your own site's pageviews and audience growth. Facebook Instant Articles can explicitly improve SEO and web traffic in the current digital climate. Here's why.

Default Content Optimization

Facebook Instant Articles forces you to optimize your content, which is particularly beneficial in the current state of search. Earlier in 2018, Google launched its speed update, which finally cemented the search engine's prioritization of fast-loading mobile pages. The speed update was only one drop in a stream of algorithm updates prioritizing user experience, which included page speed and relevant, quality content.

The same reasons Instant Articles were a smart way to optimize content during its launch several years ago are still relevant today.

Detailed Formatting: To publish Instant Articles, your content has to be formatted correctly. This includes proper headers, image captions, author attribution (another priority from Google in 2018), related links, etc. These are all the kinds of details that will not only beef up your article, but improve your relevance to Google. After its own struggle with fake news, Google is looking for articles that are detailed, complete, and relevant to the reader.

Dynamic Content: Facebook Instant Articles make it naturally easy for publishers to experiment with dynamic and media-rich content. Within Instant Articles, it's instinctive to add in interactive elements like GIFs, images, and video, which can keep users engaging with an article longer. The content diversification also allows for more network distribution through outlets like YouTube. If the YouTube video links back to the original media source (your article), that can improve SEO.

This Instant Article from Rebel Love Meow features dynamic content, including video, images, related articles, and ads.

Creating a mobile publishing experience that lends itself to correct formatting and engaging content seemed nice to have when Instant Articles first launched in 2015. Now they're absolutely essential to any search strategy.

Increased Web Traffic

Facebook Instant Articles naturally creates an environment for optimized content, and it also improves the way search engines crawl your site.

Better Code: To be in sync with Instant Articles, publishers have to ensure that their site's template or RSS Feed is cleaned up and working 100% correctly. This doesn't impact search directly, but clean code helps crawlers efficiently index sites, which, in turn, can also improve SEO.

Better Ranking: There is a common concern among publishers that an Instant Article is a duplicate version of a story's original site version. But Instant Articles works similar to Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in that regard, where the article is not hosted by Facebook. Facebook takes a version of your article through RSS and creates its own mobile version, which is how it's able to load content so quickly.

In a Twitter thread during the summer of 2018, Google's Search Liaison Danny Sullivan told users that every broad algorithm update revolves around the same concepts: speed and content. He then referenced their 200-page search quality rating guidelines as a way to succeed in the rankings.

In the eyes of Google, traffic to Facebook Instant Articles is another way users have chosen your content as the right answer to their search queries. By improving your ranking, your website traffic will naturally grow, too. This symbiotic relationship is what creates sustainable growth and organic loyalty. It all starts with quality, detailed, and relevant content. It then continues through mediums like Facebook Instant Articles, which help deliver your premium content to more users with less interruptions.

Adapt and Win

Integrating your content and optimizing it for Facebook Instant Articles can be tricky, but in our experience it's worth it. Our clients are currently experiencing explosive growth on the platform while other publishers are suffering from plummeting reach.

We believe content should travel easily across platforms. If you need help publishing Facebook Instant Articles, we can both help you get started and ensure you create a lasting strategy even if you aren't on our platform. If you're looking to publish to a social-forward, lean tech solution, then we're happy to discuss the path forward. Either way, request a proposal today and let's start working together.

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Why RebelMouse Is the Best Content Marketing Platform

RebelMouse is a unique platform and company. The company was founded on the vision that media companies would need an always-modern solution to thrive in the new connected internet, and that brands would have to behave like new media companies and use the same platforms.

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How to Categorize Your Post Order

Use the Order Property feature to set up your content's best flow

Creating content isn't just a simple process of writing, editing, and publishing. There's an important amount of strategy needed to ensure your articles get the visibility they deserve. Nailing down a solid plan for your content's structure and order is important to make sure every post has the opportunity to reach its maximum audience.

In Layout & Design Tool, there's an Order Property feature within a Posts element that allows you to order the posts on your page by several different categories, including title, recency, and primacy. Here's what the setup looks like:

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Introducing the Paywall Element

Customize which content your users see for free

The rise of the subscription model has continued to climb over the past few years, and it took an even larger upward turn after the start of 2020's COVID-19 crisis. For publishers, a smart paywall strategy will not only improve user experience, but build sustainable revenue for your business to thrive. Subscriptions can also be a golden ticket to strong user loyalty. It's estimated that 80–90% of the people who are paying for digital subscriptions now are at least somewhat likely to still be paying for access next year.

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You're almost there! Fill out the form below and a Rebel will contact you within one business day.

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Cater to New Users With Silent Login

Bypass the sign in process for special events, contests, and more

Since RebelMouse supports creating online communities, we make it easy for users to sign up for sites on our network using their email address and social profiles. Now, there's a Silent Login element for when you would like one of your users to silently log in to add a post.

The Silent Login element gives new users the ability to sign up for your site without needing to complete the typical email sign-up process. This is ideal for sponsored posts, contests, events, and job postings. For example, if you're running a contest for the best Halloween costume photos, you can use a Silent Login element to create a workflow that allows users to submit their photos for review via Entry Editor without first having to create an account for your site. The experience for non-logged-in users is completely customizable.

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Inside RebelMouse’s Regression Testing

Even the smallest software update can change how entire systems function. Running tests after each update, called regression tests, ensures that every element of our platform is still working properly. RebelMouse runs regression tests continuously to increase efficiency as our functionalities expand and new features are introduced.

For each update of a production branch, we automatically begin regression tests. After tests are completed, we generate and review reports, and if there are any unexpected changes, we create tickets to revert changes and fix issues.

Here's a rundown of the different kinds of regression tests we perform:

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How to Add a Link to User Names

Use code to link users to their profiles

RebelMouse makes it easy for content creators to build dynamic and engaging communities. Each user can have their own username, permissions, and profile. A user's profile can also be linked to via their username anytime it appears on your site.

There are two ways to add this link:

1. Add the Username as a Link to an <a> Tag

HTML:

<a href="#" id="my_username">PROFILE</a>

JavaScript:

<script type="text/lazy-javascript" priority="10">
var user_data_for_use;
setTimeout(function(){
{{require}}(['settings'], function (settings) {
user_data_for_use=settings;
document.getElementById("my_username").setAttribute("href","/u/"+settings.user_site.name);
});},1000);
</script>

Upon page load, the code above will change the value of the href attribute to href="/u/username_of_user" for any element that uses id="my_username.".

2. Insert the Username as Text Inside a <span> Tag

HTML:

<span id="my_username"></span>

JavaScript:

<script type="text/lazy-javascript" priority="10">
var user_data_for_use;
setTimeout(function(){
{{require}}(['settings'], function (settings) {
user_data_for_use=settings;
document.getElementById("my_username").innerHTML=settings.user_site.name
});},1000);
</script>

Upon page load, the code above will insert the username inside a <span> tag as text by referencing id="my_username."

If you have any questions about this feature, please email support@rebelmouse.com.

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