clearFusionCMS now supporting Instant Articles & AMP

clearFusionCMS now supporting Instant Articles & AMP

09 May 2017

Because of limited data plans, low speed data links, low powered devices and slower processing speeds, website owners need to be especially conscious of how their pages are built and displayed.  Mobile web has overtaken desktop as the primary way people access content online.  How publications are designed and displayed has become increasingly important. Poorly designed or slow-loading pages will result in lost ad revenue & increased bounce rates.  To make life easier, and eliminate the need to build custom layouts from scratch, clearFusionCMS automatically takes your existing content & optimises the page structure to fit the requirements of Instant Articles and AMP.

What are Instant Articles & AMP?

Both Facebook and Google shared a goal of making pages that load faster & use less data than desktop pages.  Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP are engineered to help content load a lot faster on mobile devices than a typical web page. They are designed for higher engagements, which produces improved News Feed ranking & Search Engine Optimization.  However, one of the distinct differences between Facebook Instant Articles & Googles AMP, is that Instant Articles takes advantage of HTML5’s multimedia and rich storytelling capabilities.  Google AMP emphasises static content over interactive, by not using JavaScript and third-party scripts to dramatically decrease load times.

Instant Articles

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, thereby creating a better user experience.  Facebook claim that Instant Articles are shared 30% more often than mobile web articles & are 70% less likely to be abandoned.

Instant Articles has faster load times, so people engage more,  increasing their visibility in users' feeds.  The average load time for Instant Articles is between 0 and 300 milliseconds.  

Publishers are required to submit a properly formatted sample to be approved by Facebook before they can begin distributing to Instant Articles. Once articles are approved,  publishers can then syndicate Instant Articles directly from clearFusionCMS, either through the Instant Articles API or RSS feed.

Instant Articles allows ads to be fetched without disrupting access to the content itself. Facebook provided guidelines regarding the ad formats supported by Instant Articles. To aid in the rapid initial loading of pages, one of the criteria was that no ads can appear above the fold (when an Instant Article is opened an ad isn't seen). 

With Instant Articles, publishers who sell and serve their own ads keep 100% of the revenue generated by the ads. Publishers can use Facebook to sell ads on their behalf through Facebook's mobile ad network, but Facebook takes a percentage of it (check for current rates). 


AMP

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a type of HTML, optimised for mobile web browsing.Instead of building a new product, Google decided to optimise the traditional mobile web experience, with AMP HTML. Using AMP webpages load rapidly when clicked in a search engine, by caching and pre-rendering content before you tap on an article. Google claims that AMP articles load 4x faster than standard webpages & use 10x less data.

clearFusionCMS pages are built with 3 core components of AMP:  

  • AMP HTML is basically HTML extended with custom AMP properties.
  • AMP JS library implements all of AMP's best performance practices, manages resource loading and gives you the custom tags, ensure a fast rendering of your page.
  •  AMP Cache is a proxy-based content delivery network for delivering all valid AMP documents. It fetches AMP HTML pages, caches them, and improves page performance automatically.

However, there is a  downside to AMP.  iframes and JavaScript, are commonly used on modern websites. Therefore, publishers who want to create articles for Google AMP are required to create a parallel version of their content for Google AMP.  Google's main objective is to create standards & best practices for content creators to adopt so its search engine can direct users to the best mobile experience.

AMP is currently used by several media outlets, including CNN, ABC, and Fox News. 


Publishers will need to think about how content is created and designed to make the most of each platform’s advantages and limitations.  In an age where anyone with a computer can slap up a webpage with drag & drop editors, regardless of the standard of code, creating content for these formats reintroduces a coding requirement.  If you are not using a CMS that supports Instant Articles, AMP & Apple News, you will have to be fairly comfortable with advanced web coding, or engage someone who is, to perform on these new platforms. Facebook, Google & Apple have raised the bar in regards to content. Amateurs & self-builders will either have to learn to code, or have their websites suffer the consequences of limited content distribution.

Soon we'll be supporting Apple News, so stay tuned for that announcement!


Cindy Arlott

By Cindy Arlott

Web Producer, Creative Director, Content Creator & Distributor at clearFusion Digital, & specializes in helping businesses plan & grow their website.

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