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Instant Articles for Facebook is a way for publishers—and now, small businesses—to distribute fast, interactive stories on Facebook. They were built to solve the problems caused by slow loading times on the mobile web.

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. Instant Articles are preloaded in the Facebook mobile app so they load instantly. An Instant Article is an HTML document optimized for fast mobile performance, rich storytelling capabilities, branded design, and customized visual display. Instant Articles use a standardized markup language (similar to XML) to apply styles and interactive functionality to a story. This markup can be applied automatically, to enable automated publication of an entire content feed at scale. Alternatively, it can be applied manually to create bespoke stories that take full advantage of Instant Article capabilities and rich-media elements.

Instant Articles come with some fancy multimedia features such as cinemagraph covers. These are static images with a few animated features that render as a GIF file. Instant Articles offers autoplay videos that load seamlessly with the text. They may offer interactive maps that give you a helicopter view of key points in a story–or to your place of business. You can use it to display, rich photos of your products, photos that you can explore deeper with a tilt or pinch of the phone. Instant Articles gives readers the ability to share or comment specific parts of the article, and audio captions that let you hear the voice of the author as you read.

So how do you get these great tools in your hands? Some history:

According to Wikipedia:

Instant Articles launched officially on May 12, 2015.[1] Launch partners included Woven DigitalBuzzFeed, the New York TimesNational GeographicThe AtlanticNBC NewsThe GuardianBBC NewsBild, and Spiegel Online.[3] Facebook also created an Instant Articles landing page to showcase Instant Articles in reverse chronological order.[1][2][4][3] It was initially available only on Facebook’s iPhone app.[3]

A year later, they opened it up to all kinds of publishers. You can be one, too.

Instant Articles are available to anyone with a Facebook Page. First, you sign up. Then you import selected articles from your WordPress website. You’ll need to verify that you own it and provide a high-resolution logo. Instant Articles can be designed to reflect your brand’s style and still get the most out of the new interactive features. Before you can go live with the Instant Articles, you must submit 5 complete articles for review by the Facebook Instant Articles team. The articles can be old or current but must conform to a set of simple guidelines for public content.  Instructions for Creating are available from Facebook. They won’t go live as Instant Articles unless you decide to convert them at a later point.

Most publishers use Facebook Instant Articles for some, but not all, articles. It is a way to draw people to their websites. Publishers can sell and serve their own rich-media and display ads in Instant Articles and keep 100% of that revenue. To monetize unsold inventory, publishers can also display ads from Facebook’s Audience Network. And the analytics settings used on the website can track usage on the Instant Articles.

Instant Articles on Facebook lets people read publishers’ content within the Facebook app. When people read Instant Articles, they no longer visit publishers’ websites directly. Publishers can use their existing web-based analytics and attribution systems to track article traffic, including third-party providers like Google Analytics.

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