Content Tiering

In order to correctly display a paywall, each Instant Article from a Subscriptions publisher must have a specified content tier. The available tiers are:

  • locked: This article is only available to your subscribers, who are identified through Account Linking. A paywall is always displayed for unsubscribed readers.
  • metered: This article is always available to your subscribers, and a limited amount of metered articles are available for unsubscribed readers. Metered article reads from your publication will count towards an unsubscribed user's meter limit. If this limit is reached, access to all other unread metered content is restricted with a paywall, until the meter is reset at the end of the calendar month.
  • free: This article is available to everyone. No metering or restriction applies.

When integrating with Instant Articles Subscriptions, only people with developer access to your Application or has a role in your Page will see metered or locked articles as Instant Article, while other users will be redirected to the mobile website.

Different methods of content tiering are available to cater for a variety of website structures and publisher requirements. They are evaluated in the following order of priority:

Content tiering only works on production Instant Article feeds and will not apply to development feeds.

Open Graph Tagging

Content tiering can be provided by using the relevant Open Graph tag in the head section of your web article markup. The following example indicates an article is metered content:

<head>
  <meta property="article:content_tier" content="metered"/>
</head>

Open Graph content tier tags are processed by the Facebook Crawler and used to determine if metering or access restrictions should be applied to the Instant Article.

Open Graph Content Tier tags should be provided on the markup for the article on your website, and not the Instant Articles specific markup.

When updating content tiering provided by an Open Graph tag, in addition to modifying the tag on your website, you must trigger a re-scrape of the URL through this Graph API endpoint or manually with the Sharing Debugger.

If you have retroactively added a content tier tag to existing articles (as opposed to newly published articles), you must also trigger a re-scrape of the URL in order to update the content tier tag.

Regular Expression (Regex)

You can setup one or more regex patterns for content tiering from your Page via Publishing Tools -> Subscriptions -> Configuration.

Each regex pattern will have an associated content tier, indicating that any URL that matches the regex pattern falls within the specified content tier.

For example, given the following regex pattern:

/https:\/\/www\.publisher\.com\/premium\/.*/

Adding this regex pattern with the Locked content tier indicates that any articles that appear under https://www.publisher.com/premium/ (e.g. https://www.publisher.com/premium/article1.html) should be considered Locked articles.

An article URL will be evaluated against the available regex patterns sequentially, from top to bottom. Once a match is found, the associated content tier will be used and further regex patterns are not evaluated. Therefore, your more restrictive regex patterns should be listed above broader patterns.

Because Open Graph tiering has a higher priority, Open Graph tiering will override regex content tiering.

Default Content Tier (Free)

If an Instant Article has no Open Graph tags and does not match any regex rules, it will count as a free article.