New: WordPress Plugin for Facebook Instant Articles

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Facebook has announced that its Instant Articles program will be open to publishers “of any size, anywhere in the world” starting on April 12, 2016. And with the free plugin we’re unveiling today, you’ll be able to prepare your self-hosted or VIP WordPress for the demands of this new channel.

Install it now from GitHub (it’s also coming soon to the WordPress plugin directory).

Instant Articles, now available to people using Facebook for iPhone and Android, load articles in Facebook’s News Feed up to ten times faster than standard web articles, and are optimized for the mobile reading experience.

The native format includes a built-in set of interactive tools like auto-play video and tap-to-zoom image galleries, bringing stories to life on mobile devices. Early analysis suggests that people engage more deeply with the immersive experience and share Instant Articles with their friends more often than standard web articles.

We’ve been working with Facebook, and VIP Featured Partner agency Dekode, on a plugin which takes care of the basics. Activate it, and you’ll have a compliant feed of Posts, wrapping your core content in the markup Facebook requires.

How it works

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Facebook has a review process where they verify that all Instant Articles generated from your website are properly formatted and adhere to their community standards and content policies before you’ll be able to start pushing content to the platform. (You can get more information in our Instant Articles FAQ.) Instant Articles generally should contain all the content a person would see in the web version of an article, so if you have extended the standard WordPress Post template in any way, it’s likely that you’ll need to extend the plugin’s default output too.

If you find any problems in our plugin, please send your feedback as an Issue on GitHub. And if you write a compatibility layer for another popular plugin, we’d encourage you to share it with the WordPress community via a Pull Request.

The Instant Articles program is one of several current initiatives that aim to bring improved speed and performance to the experience of reading news on your mobile device. We are thrilled to be working with Facebook on making it easier than ever for WordPress publishers to reach and engage their audiences in new ways.

Learn more at Facebook.

24 thoughts on “New: WordPress Plugin for Facebook Instant Articles

  1. Well played, Facebook!! Love it. So looking forward to Instant Articles coming to all publishers and this WP plugin is perfect for folks to get started easily.

  2. Great work VIP! So far only about 12 publishers are doing this in the UK.

    This is a feature many devs will want to offer their clients as a product that will improve customer experience and lower bounce rates.

    This is the start of trend in static html pages in 2016. Google AMP as well.

  3. How will the plugin handle embedded shortcodes from the host site? With so many themes and plugins using them in various ways, could this be an issue with the plugin?

    • You’re right, it’s pretty much impossible to write a plugin which ‘just works’ with all the possible ways people use WordPress. We have been careful to present this as a ‘head start’ in preparing your site to deliver Instant Articles which meet with Facebook’s approval. It handles all the basics: but any custom work you’ve done for HTML output may need to be hooked into the Instant Article output too.

  4. What about ads, will facebook allow Google AdSense ads to appear in content or they are going to pay you in return for clicks.

    • There is detailed documentation on ads etc on the Facebook developers site. They say: ‘publishers can sell and serve their own display advertisements in Instant Articles and keep 100% of the revenue, or they can monetize unsold inventory with display ads from Facebook’s Audience Network.’

  5. Will this new WordPress Plugin for Facebook Instant Articles be coming to those on WordPress.com as well as WordPress.com VIP?

    Your response is greatly appreciated🙂.

    Many kind regards,

    Alex Smithson

    • We are actively looking into it. It will be more complex than other similar initiatives, as we need to ensure all theme customisations are reflected in the Instant Article output, in accordance with Facebook’s policies.

      • Thanks so much for your response Simon, I really appreciated it. Keeping my fingers crossed for if the Instant Article output goes ahead🙂.

        Alex Smithson

  6. I used this plugin and when i am adding ‘feed/instant-articles/’ after my website URL then nothing is showing (404 error is coming) can anyone help me

    • If it doesn’t work immediately, you may need to flush your site’s permalink rules: go to Settings > Permalinks, and press Save Changes (without making any changes). This forces WordPress to rebuild its cache of your rewrite rules. You could also try a URL of the form example.com/?feed=instant-articles

  7. Hi Simon,

    I’m wondering whether you are available for consultation and/or custom development to cater for our specific needs? Would love to discuss your rates to help us get the plugin working as best as possible for us.

    Thanks,
    Sami

    • We don’t generally do custom development like this; but we can heartily recommend the agencies on our shortlist of Featured Partners. In this particular case, I’m sure the team at Dekode would be delighted to hear from you.

  8. Hello, I just download the plugin but here’s a question before I started fiddling with it: if your theme uses a featured image (outside the post), how does that work out? An issue many of us have been having when using the WordPress AMP plugin is that featured images are not showing up – is that also the case here? Thanks in advance!

    • We’re really the wrong people to be asking about that!🙂 But Facebook have now issued an Instant Articles SDK for PHP (on GitHub), which should make it much easier to produce a Joomla plugin if there isn’t one available yet.

      • Haha yes of course – sorry – the perils of skim reading! I’m sure someone will come up with something soon and for it’s worth – I really really wish I’d have opted for wordpress!🙂

  9. Great development that I’ve nearly got working perfectly! Has only pulled through 4 articles so a bit more tweaking to be done. Great optimisation for mobile though.

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