Instant Articles: Frequently Asked Questions

Instant Articles is a mobile publishing format that enables news publishers to distribute articles to Facebook's app that load and display as much as 10 times faster than the standard mobile web.

For the latest updates on Instant Articles improvements and technical revisions, subscribe to the Instant Articles News blog.

You’ll find answers to frequently asked questions on the following subjects here:

Basics

Publishing

Monetization

Basics

An Instant Article is a HTML5 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.

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.

Publishers can use their existing web-based analytics systems to track article traffic, or use third-party providers like Google Analytics, Omniture or comScore.

Instant Articles are available for readers with iPhones and Android devices running the following software versions or above:

  • iPhone Facebook for iPhone Version 30.0 and iOS 7.0 or above
  • Android Facebook for Android Version 57 and Android Jelly Bean or above

No. Publishers should share articles on their Pages just as they always have; Instant Articles will not be automatically posted. Smart Publishing is a separate tool that automatically posts some articles on your Page.

Facebook only displays the Page Like button in the header of an Instant Article when the reader has not already liked (i.e. followed) the associated Page. When the reader already follows the Page, the Like button does not appear. If you or members of your team are not seeing the Page Like button on your articles, it’s probably because you already like your own Page.

Publishing with Instant Articles

Instant Articles work for any type of article, from daily coverage to long-form, in-depth features.

No. Instant Articles provides a faster, Facebook-native way to distribute the content publishers already produce for their own websites. Every article published as an Instant Article must be published on a news publisher's website as well. That means when someone shares an Instant Article by email or on Twitter, they also share a link to the publisher's website.

Instant Articles are only available on Facebook's mobile app. Having a standard web URL that links to a web-based version of the content ensures that shared links to Instant Articles discovered on Facebook remain accessible to any reader on any platform. Without a standard, web-based URL, the article would only be readable via Facebook's mobile app.

We've tried to make it as easy as possible for publishers to produce Instant Articles. After some basic setup, publishers can automate Instant Article production directly from their own content management systems. Facebook provides tools so publishers can see all the items in their Facebook publishing feed and edit or revise content manually. Facebook also provides tools for publishers to preview articles before publication.

No. Instant Articles are ranked in News Feed by the same criteria that we use to rank standard articles on the mobile web. News Feed ranks stories based on a number of factors, including the amount people interact with them and how much time people spend reading them.

No. Nothing about link-sharing on Facebook changes. Publishers and readers link to articles just as they always have; there’s no need to do anything differently for an Instant Article. Each Instant Article is associated with a URL link, so when a friend or Page shares a link in News Feed, readers on Facebook see the Instant Article version if it’s available.

No. Instant Articles are treated like any other stories publishers post to Facebook.

Instant Articles lets people read publishers’ content within the Facebook app. In other words, 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, Omniture or comScore.

Instant Articles allows publishers to track reader-engagement with Facebook’s own content analytics tools. Along with aggregate activity data, Facebook provides publishers with information on article reach and engagement, time spent in each article, scroll-depth and engagement with rich media assets like photos and videos. As with all of Facebook’s data products, no personally identifiable information is shared with third-parties, including publishers.

Facebook's Page and Domain Insights provide data on age, gender, language and geography breakdown of traffic to your page and domain, both web and native, on an aggregate basis. Facebook’s goal is to provide the same data that publishers are used to having about visitors on the mobile web.

Yes, posts with Instant Articles can be boosted with ad spend, similar to posts with links to the mobile web.

Monetization in Instant Articles

Publishers can directly sell and deliver banner ads, video ads (click to play or sound off), and animated ads containing HTML5, Javascript or CSS (provided the ads do not expand, collapse or any block content). Publishers can also monetize through the Facebook Audience Network, delivering high value, relevant and engaging ads from over 3 million advertisers on Facebook.

Audience Network provides publishers and developers with engaging, high performing ad units backed by Facebook's 3 million advertisers. Audience Network extends the reach of Facebook campaigns beyond Facebook, and provides publishers a way to monetize their content with relevant, better targeted ads and innovative native ad formats.

Instant Articles partners may serve direct sold ads into their inventory. You may utilize your own ad server to deliver direct sold campaigns. Facebook’s Audience Network may be used to monetize any impressions that are not direct sold. Visit the Instant Article policies page to learn more about Ads Sales and Serving policies.

Yes. Third-party ad servers and tracking or measurement technologies are commonly deployed.

Yes. House ads are allowed, and will count towards per article ad load, as defined by our ad placement guidelines.

Per the policy, if your article consists primarily of images or media, ads must not exceed 15% of the content. For publishers using the automatic ads placement feature, this will automatically take into account article elements like photos or videos when determining ads placement.

Publishers can now create and publish branded content as Instant Articles. Instant Articles that specifically mention or feature a “sponsor,” third party products, brands, or sponsors are considered branded content and subject to our branded content policy. Visit the Facebook Branded Content policy overview to learn more.

Quizzes are subject to the same policies and guidelines as articles.

Publishers may serve native ad formats (e.g. ads that match the form and function of the platform or context in which they appear) into Instant Articles provided they are direct sold campaigns delivered by a publisher's ad server(s), and comply with the Ads Sales and Serving policies.

Third party embedded video players may contain ads, provided they are click to play and contain editorial content below the fold. However, native video is strongly recommended as it creates a richer, more engaging reading experience for people. If using a 3rd party video player, we recommend not starting with a pre-roll ad as this significantly detracts from the reading experience.

Audience Network

In the case that you want to serve both direct sold and Audience Network ads, you’ll deploy an ad server tag to your Instant Articles and traffic Audience Network as a tag to your ad server. You may prioritize according to your preferences.

You can use both in the same placement. The recommended implementation is to place a call to your ad server within the ad iframe. You will manage Audience Network as a line item within your ad server, acting as the monetization option to supplement your direct sales.

You will need to have access to your Audience Network account for Instant Articles. In the account, navigate to ‘Placements’ and create a ‘Placement of Banner’ type. You will only need one placement.

You may use filters within your Audience Network console to manage a block list based on categories, URLs or apps.

The Audience Network provides publishers and developers with engaging, high performing ad units backed by Facebook's 3 million advertisers. CPMs can be influenced by multiple factors, including a publisher’s readership, seasonality in spending by advertisers and other more external issues in the marketplace. Publishers can track the CPM through the Audience Network dashboard that they have access to once on-boarded to Audience Network.

In defining the iframe, set style="border:0;margin:0;", as below:

When buying through the Facebook platform or via a Facebook Marketing Partner, ads are targeted based on audience by user rather than being placed contextually. Advertisers currently only have the ability to target Facebook platform or Audience Network (or both). Our engineering team is discussing further targeting abilities, but details of what this may look like have not yet been shared.

Please refer to the Audience Network FAQ.

Note: SDK is never involved in Instant Articles integrations, so those details do not apply.

Ad Serving

DFP publishers have the option to disable Dynamic Allocation for placements if they choose to. They will need to do so for use in Instant Articles.

IP and header information are passed to external ad calls and can be used for targeting.

Instant Articles do not have a macro that passes metadata to ads. This would require development work on your side to pass metadata to ad requests on ingestion of the article in Facebook.

There are a few different ways to deploy GPT. We do not, however, support the most commonly recommended implementation, which is to include the main tag in the <head> element of the page with individual tags throughout the article. The only supported integration is to include the whole JS tag within each ad iframe. Beyond that, there aren’t any restrictions. You can use the separate <op-tracker> for Google Analytics or any other data.

Yes. To specify multiple blocks of ad code, wrap each in a <section> with the class op-ad-template in your article <header>. You can designate separate sizes for each ad template. They will be placed throughout the article in the order you included them in. For more information on automatic placement, see Ad Placement in the Monetization with Instant Articles section of our developer documentation.

If your article is less than 350 words, you can expect automatic placement will position the ad at the bottom of the article. We continue to refine automatic placement to ensure quality experiences for people, so this may change over time.

Scroll depth is provided for every article.

It is also possible to monitor ad viewability specifically. IOS ads currently render differently than Android. For IOS ads, it is possible to get an idea of viewability by looking at the difference between ‘Filled’ and ‘Impressions.’ Ads are filled on article load and impressions recorded when 1% of the vertical pixels and 100% of horizontal pixels are in the viewport.

Not at this time, although Facebook reserves the right to request the removal of technologies that are in violation of our policies.