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How The Guardian website traffic grew through Instant Articles


The Guardian Nigeria Facebook Page

In Sub-Saharan Africa, Instant Articles load on average 4.7 times faster than mweb on Android and 6.2 times faster on iOS, according to Facebook data. Since launching Instant Articles in 2017, The Guardian Nigeria has seen a 9x increase in traffic to its owned platforms. By including call-to-action buttons in their articles, they also benefited from a 3x increase in newsletter sign-ups and a 12% increase in Page followers. Jelil Adedoyin, The Guardian Nigeria’s media and growth manager, explained how other publishers can set themselves up for success.

Instant Articles is a product that allows articles to load instantly, and natively on the Facebook mobile app, giving audiences a better user experience, and publishers the ability to tell rich stories in a branded and customizable way. By using simple mark-up, publishers can ensure all clicks are attributed to their O+O, and, whether programmatic or direct-sold advertising (or both), have control over the monetisation solution that works best for their business. Publishers can visit this page to learn more about getting started.


  • 9x increase in traffic to owned platforms
  • 3x increase in newsletter sign-ups
  • 12% increase in Page followers

According to October-December 2019 data provided by The Guardian Nigeria.


Appoint a team member to own Instant Articles launch and performance. A social manager with technical know-how coordinated their Instant Articles launch. “It was quite straightforward with the involvement of a back-end developer to implement some code,” Adedoyin said. The Guardian built a custom RSS feed and loaded 95% of their articles on Facebook as Instant Articles. This is one of several ways to integrate the product, which also include using a WordPress plugin and building an API.
Use Instant Articles CTAs to drive newsletter sign-ups and Page likes. After implementing Instant Articles Call-to-Action units (CTAs), The Guardian Nigeria saw a 3x increase in newsletter sign-ups and a 12% increase in Page followers. “It was quite easy to integrate,” Jelil said. “What matters in the CTA messaging is communicating the value that an audience stands to gain from reading your content.”

That meant underscoring The Guardian Nigeria’s value as an independent newspaper “promoting the best interests of Nigeria” with no partisan interests. Facebook launched Instant Articles CTAs to give publishers another opportunity to create direct relationships with readers. Among publishers worldwide, the CTAs have generated more than 23 million email newsletter sign-ups and 6.3 million mobile app installs since 2017.


Study time spent on articles and scroll depth to track Instant Articles performance. “We access basic audience engagement data via the Instant Articles publishing channel, which helps us see general performance per article,” Jelil said. “Scroll depth is reduced whenever most of the stories a publisher has can be found on other similar platforms, so for us, we always strive to publish news as fast as it breaks online. It is a continuous process and we always want to ensure that our content is relevant, fresh and insightful for the readers.”

The Guardian Nigeria saw a 9x increase in traffic to its owned platforms after launching Instant Articles. The social team is now working to expand and reach new readers in cities across the country. “Most of our readers are Nigerian audience and predominantly in Lagos, while we are aiming to expand to major cities in Nigeria and the rest of the world,” Jelil said. “To achieve this, we keep educating our print reporters and get them to be proficient with digital reporting so that we can further leverage our network of reporters and freelancers all across the region.”

This article was first published by Facebook Journalism Project.


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