WordPress Partners with Facebook
Facebook have partnered with Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com VIP to build a free plugin for Instant Articles, which simplifies the process of generating and publishing Instant Articles from WordPress.
A few weeks ago, Facebook announced that Instant Articles will globally open to all publishers of any size starting April 12, 2016.
Instant Articles enables users to load articles on Facebook’s News Feed up to ten times faster than standard web articles, and optimizes content for the mobile reading experience. Moreover, early analysis states that people are engaging on deeper level with the articles therefore sharing more often with their friends.
If you are interested in learning more about Facebook's Instant Articles plugin, I would recommend watching this informative and brief video below created by Facebook:
Introducing Instant Articles from Facebook on Vimeo.
Here is what Joe Speiser, co-founder of LittleThings.com, told The Wall Street Journal about Facebook Instant Articles:
“The biggest stumbling block with Instant Articles was that we were making less there than with visits to our own site. We are now seeing parity with our mobile Web version.”
Instant Articles for WordPress is now available on GitHub which notes that the “plugin is still in early stages and the underlying APIs (filters, classes, etc.) may change.” It is also coming soon to the WordPress plugin directory, which is open-source and customizable. Here are some of the most noticeable advantages of the plugin for WordPress publishers:
They will be able to prepare their self-hosted or VIP WordPress for the demands of this new channel.
The plugin creates a special RSS feed that automatically optimizes posts to appear as Instant Articles. Even if a publisher isn't using the plugin, Instant Articles utilizes an RSS feed that converts a non-Instant Articles piece into one with an Instant Articles format.
It also supports native autoplay video as well as social and interactive graphic embeds.
The plugin adapts web content for the Instant Articles format, with a built-in suite of interactive tools that help stories come to life on mobile.
From a business perspective, it is not just about getting content out faster, but opens up the opportunity to reach company ROI. More content delivered instantly means more advertising revenue for the social network. Publishers also now have the advantage to earn advertising revenue while delivering their content through Instant Articles, and have the ability to customize the advertising options. For instance, publishers can sell their own ads and keep 100% of the revenue generated, or they can let Facebook sell advertising using Instant Articles through the Facebook Audience Network. In this case Facebook keeps 30% of the revenue generated by the placement of those ads, with 70% being paid out to publishers on a monthly basis.
Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes Instant Articles, as it is designed to share faster-loading articles more often. However, publishers must go through a review process to ensure that their posts are properly formatted and compliant before being allowed to push content via Instant Articles. Once approved, articles will load instantly on mobile devices.
On the other hand, if users are not already on a platform like WordPress that offers support via a plugin, publishing to Instant Articles could be tricky as they need to make various customizations to add branding and advertising while the underlying APIs are still in flux.
The VP of Platform Services at Automattic, Paul Maiorana stated: “It’s still quite early, but we wanted to move quickly to ensure that WordPress and WordPress.com VIP publishers can take advantage of Instant Articles as soon as it opens up to everyone. And we were excited to work with Facebook to help make that happen.”
Facebook's partner of engineering team, Chris Ackermann said: “The open-source WordPress publishing platform now powers more than 25% of sites on the web, so we are excited to help millions of publishers all over the world bring the Instant Articles experience to their readers.”
In conclusion, new mobile publishing channels such as Facebook’s Instant Articles and Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) have their own unique specifications that publishers need to fully understand to get the content prioritized and findable. Therefore, before rolling up their sleeves, publishers should consider whether it’s worth the extra effort to gain the upgraded speed, exposure and ad revenue in return.