Speed Up Your Mobile Sites with Facebook Instant Article and Google AMP Demo

Two new mobile platforms – Facebook Instant Articles and Google Accelerated Mobiles Pages – are transforming the way we see the internet on mobile devices. The Google AMP Demo and FBIA are both designed to allow visitors a faster content experience. Facebook Instant Article works on the Facebook mobile app. The Google AMP Project is used to speed up your content on Google, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest – and many other mobile apps.

google amp demo fb
Image from: blog.metropublisher.com

Transitioning to Facebook Instant Articles App and Google AMP Sites

Both FBIA and AMP are designed to load instantly on mobile devices. You (should) already know that an ever-increasing number of web visitors are using mobile devices. This means the better the user experience on that mobile phone or tablet, the better for your business.

With articles and content loading instantly, visitor engagement increases. Load speeds increase. SEO improves. News Feed Rankings improve.

Both FBIA and AMP preload content and cache media files. Then articles load instantly for readers. No slow loading and spinning circles. Click. Read. Watch. Convert?

If you’re asking yourself why you’d want transition over to Facebook Instant Articles on WordPress or why you should try the Google AMP demo, you’re missing the point. These are redefining the way people use the internet. If you don’t make the transition, you’re quickly going to be left behind.

·Traffic Increases

You need traffic. And to keep growing and improving, you need more traffic. Traffic comes from many places, but search engine optimization and discovery through social media are two primary methods. Instantly loading content dramatically improves page load times and visitor engagement – key components of both traffic elements.

·Conversions and Sales Increase

Your site, like most sites, requires conversions of one sort of another. Clicks, sales, whatever you’re trying to do with your content, you can do it faster if visitors can get to the websites easily. When a page loads slowly, readers click away. When websites load quickly you don’t fall victim to the short attention span of readers.

·Engagement and Shares Increase

Both the Facebook Instant Articles App and the Google AMP project support more than just words on the page. The simplified format incorporates true mobile experiences that visitors want to share. Both formats allow for advanced features like audio captions, tilt-to-pan photos, video, and interactive maps.

These features are integral parts of apps like Facebook and LinkedIn. Fortunately, specific layouts exist with both FBIA and AMP to maximize sharing and engagement including Comments and Likes.

The Google AMP Project

Almost a year ago, Google announced the Google AMP project through its blog. The goal of the project is to create a “new open source initiative called Accelerated Mobile Pages.” AMP improves the performance of the mobile web by allowing content rich websites to load instantly. The project also planned to use the same code on multiple platforms and devices. This unifies the experience across platforms and devices.

The Google AMP demo and project utilizes AMP HTML. This is an open framework constructed from existing technologies. Websites build light-weight web pages following specific formats that load instantly on mobile devices.

google amp demo
image from googleblog.blogspot.ca

This development is simply an extension of Google’s expressed mobile-first approach. Mobile users find content easily and the mobile internet experience is transformed. Best of all – for Google at least – content publishers have increased site speed and users remain in the Google environment for their mobile experiences.

Creating Google AMP Sites

If you think in terms of streamlining the mobile internet, it’s easy to understand how Google AMP sites work. The goal is to remove slow, heavy HTML, CSS, and JavaScript from the sites. This leaves a clean site with only the most vital content. Fortunately for marketers, Google recognizes that site ads are a vital part of a site along with text, images, and videos.

Thanks to commonly shared elements across the new site format, Google AMP sites designed on the content templates load up to 85 percent faster. The load time is also improved by pre-rendering on Google’s part for AMP listings.

When you check the Google AMP demo, you can see the difference in the websites. Not only does the AMP version load more quickly, it has a cleaner look and navigation is simpler with a blue bar on the top to return to the previous screen.

google amp demo bluebar
image from googleblog.blogspot.ca

Small websites will have a simpler experience switching to the AMP framework. This is to be expected. WordPress-based websites and blogs may just need a one-click install of the AMP plugin. After installing the plugin, you’ll access the AMP pages by adding /amp to the very end of the query string.

The AMP-converted page is rather bare. You will need to do some additional work to improve branding and design. Content that isn’t AMP-compliant won’t show. Also, JavaScript code is disabled in AMP. This means a bit (or a lot) of prep work is necessary before converting your whole website.

Optimizing and Converting from a Google AMP Demo Site

As the Google AMP project rolls out and websites make the conversion, there may be some fluctuations in clicks and conversions, both paid and organic. It is logical that Google’s own network will take precedence in terms of placement, so Google AdWords and Shopping may not be as affected as third-parties.

Since the AMP module shows up at the top of the search results, all of the results that are not part of the Google AMP project will be pushed down, even if they normally are in the number one spot with organic SEO. Obviously, this will lead to a decrease in clicks, especially when you consider that paid search results show up above the organic ones as well. The order would be AMP, paid and then organic – at least for now.

Websites that are part of the AMP project will see an increase in traffic where the module is activated.

It is safe to say that the Google AMP project and Google AMP sites will continue to develop and the search results will change as well as the algorithms adjust to user intent and experience. Users and time will be the two most important aspects in that process.

The Facebook Instant Articles App

Facebook was a bit earlier to the instant-load webpage business than Google, but the software is similar in many ways. Facebook started letting publishers post their content directly on the Facebook platform in 2015. This gave Facebook an edge. Now Facebook users would not have to leave the Facebook app to read news and articles.

google amp demo Instant Articles FB
Image from: instantarticles.fb.com

While the intent may have been more about Facebook’s position than publisher preferences, the end result is solid. The Facebook Instant Articles app creates a better reading experience for users. This, in turn, creates create side effects for internet marketers and website owners.

Among the best results is a reduction in junk content that gets in the way of the good stuff. Quality posts and content are easy to promote through Facebook’s app and the plugin for Instant Articles WordPress created. These make the process of writing, posting and then promoting content on Facebook simple – provided you have quality content to promote, of course.

Using the Facebook Instant Articles App

It’s important to know that the instant articles we’re talking about here are only available on the Facebook Instant Articles app. This means it is not as widely adopted as Google’s AMP. But, a lot of people read articles and check content through Facebook. The goal of the FBIA app is to simply make the process of reading in Facebook better for users.

Prior to the Instant Articles App, clicking on an article in Facebook meant being redirected to an external website. Unless you had a premium connection, the article loaded v-e-r-y slowly.

Worse, about the time the article opened, it would be dominated by a pop-up. Some of those pop-ups refused to go away. You, like many readers, probably gave up on reading the article.

Now, by using the Facebook Instant Articles app, users can cut out the crap. And they can just read what they want to read.

Ideally, of course, they are reading your content.

Creating Content for Facebook Instant Articles

Facebook has a very specific format for articles using FBIA. These requirements are outlined at the Facebook Instant Articles website for content producers. But, in short, you can expect to create content following the template requirements.

  • All JavaScript (including pop-up ads) is removed.
  • All calls for action must be removed.
  • All advertising that isn’t part of the native Facebook advertising must be removed.

These sound like rather stringent requirements, but the end result does have some serious benefits.

-According to Facebook, social media users are clicking on up to 20 percent more links for articles after reading instant articles.

-Those reading articles are more than 70 percent less likely to abandon the article.

-Best of all, readers are 30 percent more likely to share.

Image from: techcrunch.com

Image from: techcrunch.com

To get started with Facebook Instant Articles, you’ll need a Facebook page for your business or website. You’ll also want a Facebook Pages app so that you can preview your instant articles as well as an RSS feed for full content articles if you want to automate publishing. Finally, you’ll want a Facebook Instant Articles WordPress plug-in.

Check out what others are posting as Instant Articles. Not every post is a good fit, especially if the content includes tables and charts or detailed graphics. You can see what others have published using the Facebook app on your mobile device.

When you’re ready to take the next step, sign up with Facebook Instant Articles. Facebook will send you a developer’s guide and access to a closed Facebook group to help answer additional questions and give you more information about formatting and the approval process. Yes, all Facebook Instant Articles submitted must be approved before they go live. Quality content, indeed!

Optimizing and Converting from FBIA App

Currently, there are limited options on including ads with your Facebook instant articles. You are limited to Facebook’s ads. Additionally, mobile users reading your material will be reading it on Facebook, not on your website.

Since the users aren’t actually going to your website, they aren’t counted as referral traffic. The amount of traffic to your instant articles can still be tracked however using traditional web analytic tools.

Fortunately for those concerned about limiting their conversions through only Facebook’s ads, you do have options. Some of your articles can be prepared and submitted as instant articles. Others can be published on Facebook in the traditional way, including your typical links and call to action.

Perhaps one can be used for branding and the other for conversions. Ultimately, however, the happy reader will look for more of your content, and that can only be a good thing.

What do you think of these new platforms? Tell us in the comments!

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