Technical

How To Configure WordPress for Facebook’s Instant Articles

by on 29th February 2016

Facebook pitches Instant Articles as a “HTML5 document optimized for fast mobile performance, rich storytelling capabilities, branded design and customized visual display”.

Put simply, it’s Facebook’s answer to a faster, more mobile web.

live-instant-articles

At first glance Instant Articles seem very self explanatory.

In their video, Facebook pitch Instant Articles as a “faster, more beautiful experience for the web.” Using National Geographic as the case study, various stakeholders cite some particularly exciting features for content development including:

  • Video autoplay / seamless video embed
  • Images that scroll and zoom with the orientation of the phone
  • Audio captioning that syncs with your scroll progress in the article
  • Animated maps with image layering / geo tagging options
  • Customisable typeface and layouts

I think the coolest stand out feature is the integration with the device itself; accessible image scroll and zoom features based on changes in the device orientation is hugely compelling.

Source: Notes on the Surrender at Menlo Park (2) for a list of examples of "long formy" Instant Articles.

Source: Notes on the Surrender at Menlo Park (2) for a list of examples of “long formy” Instant Articles.

How the Instant Articles Feed Looks

Here’s our Instant Articles feed: https://builtvisible.com/?feed=pagefrog_instant_articles

At first glance, it’s really simple. A set of HTML5 elements contained in an RSS/XML feed. To see the basic requirements, go here. Once you have a feed set up, you’ll be able to submit this to Facebook for approval.

How to Set Up WordPress for Instant Articles

If you followed the setup on our post about Accelerated Mobile Pages, you’ll have Pagefrog / AMP installed. If not, install Pagefrog and head to “Mobile Formats” > “Set Up”

setup-pagefrog-1

Here are the steps that you’ll need to follow to get your instants articles up and running:

  1. Find “Publishing Tools” in your Facebook Page navigate-to-publishing-tools
  2. Navigate to “Production” in the Instant Articles Section

    setup-pagefrog-1

  3. Click the Set Up Button
  4. Grab your RSS feed URL:
  5. Paste it into the RSS Feed URL field, then click Submit for Review
  6. Make sure you’ve enabled Facebook Instant Articles in Pagefrog:facebook-enable

References / Further Reading

https://www.facebook.com/instantArticles
https://developers.facebook.com/docs/instant-articles
http://www.theawl.com/2015/05/what-could-go-wrong
https://builtvisible.com/the-amp-adventure/
http://www.wired.com/2015/10/how-facebook-turned-unloved-paper-into-instant-articles/
https://builtvisible.com/google-mobile-future/
https://developers.facebook.com/docs/instant-articles/reference

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