Updated November 12, 2018: My FB Instant Articles and monetization features have been reactivated by Facebook with no further effort from me. It could be an issue with low Facebook traffic, which has resolved itself.
Because Facebook is currently under the line of fire due to the Cambridge Analytica issue, guess who’s bearing the brunt? Yep, it’s the small businesses and websites depending on Facebook. Many of these websites and pages have recently received the dreadful suspension with this notice: You’ve lost access to Instant Articles.
Remember when Audience Network became an interesting monetization strategy because it pays more than other CPM ad networks? Many website and blog owners quickly made their websites Instant Articles compliant to get approved. And approved we were.
Although this website is not getting a huge amount of Instant Articles, I was glad to earn a few dollars for converting some of my posts to Instant Articles. Last February, however, new posts would not update and convert to Instant Articles, which made me wonder if there was an issue. I tried debugging the links and following suggestions in github, but none of them worked.
Until finally yesterday, I saw a notice in my page that Instant Articles has been suspended for my account. It says: “You’ve lost access to Instant Articles”.
There are only two reasons for this:
- content policy violation
- minimal traffic
- inactive for 90 days
I read through their new content guidelines and found that my websites are still compliant. Since the past month my posts weren’t converting to Instant Articles, I assumed it’s because of minimal traffic. I didn’t realize that they now have a minimum traffic requirement to be maintained in Instant Articles. How do I drive traffic to new posts that won’t convert to Instant Articles?
You can drive more traffic to your Instant articles posts (once you’re accepted back to them), by sharing your posts more often and in different groups. Be careful not to be marked as spam though. Facebook Page’s reach is down so it’s pretty much useless to post there now (should I laugh or cry?). What’s the best way to drive traffic to IA then? Well to promote your posts using Facebook Ads! Which means you’d have to spend to earn money. Smart move Facebook.
How to recover your lost access to Instant Articles
As mentioned in the notice, you can reapply for access when you have at least 10 articles in production and you have improved your traffic. Since you probably already have enough articles in production since you were already approved in the past, all you have to do is check if your articles are compliant to their policies. Click here for the complete guidelines for monetization.
You can only reapply for access at least 30 days after your account has been suspended. So to summarize, here’s what you need to do to be accepted back to Instant articles:
- Check that all your articles are compliant to their Content Guidelines;
- Increase your traffic from Facebook;
- Have at least 10 posts in Production;
- Wait at least 30 days.
I still have earnings in my Audience Network Monetization account. More or less $50. Now that may not be a lot, but I was thinking what a waste that would be to let it rot there since that’s still my money. I sent them a message through this link.
Now when asking for help to recover your Instant Articles (or anything in Facebook for that matter), always be nice. Whether you are wrongfully suspended or not, those with angry messages don’t usually get what they want.
Anyway, my concern was actually withdrawing my money and not getting access back on my account. Why, you ask? Because I realized that upon Facebook’s whim, all the comments and likes the article converted to Instant Articles were gone. I’m not sure if I’ll be getting it back once I get access back, but I don’t want to tread lightly on what I write about. Did you know that you can’t place a link that brings anyone to a sales page or products for sale? This means you can’t place Amazon links or other affiliate links in your posts. They will only allow you to link to “editorial content” much like your own.
Furthermore, you can’t write about raising awareness for medical conditions, terminal illnesses, natural disasters and bullying (because bullying is a crime). Even if your goal is raising awareness, you can’t post them in Instant Articles.
I would like to appeal Facebook’s decision. How can I do it?
If you believe you have been “wrongly” removed from Facebook Instant Articles monetization platform, you can now appeal their decision. Before you submit an appeal though, make sure you review the following:
Now if you believe that you follow Facebook standards, then you can file an appeal through the Monetization Eligibility Appeal form.
Keep in mind that the form only asks for the following:
- Whether your issue is with just one content (Content) or with the page as a whole (Creator);
- What is the URL of the Facebook Page;
- A screenshot of the monetization ineligibility notification.
There are no text fields here, so if you would like to explain something, you will unlikely be able to do so.
Can I still get my Audience Network earnings if it didn’t reach $100?
If you’ve lost access to Instant Articles and therefore cannot monetize through Audience Network, then the short answer is no. I appealed this several times, saying that since my account was suspended anyway, they should allow me to withdraw my money even if it did not reach $100. They did not care about this and told me to reapply instead so I’ll earn the minimum amount for withdrawal.
It was less than $100, so goodbye money! I never though I won’t be seeing you! LOL
I will simply utilize Google AMP to help my page load quickly when using mobile. So goodbye to Instant Articles for now.
Arguably though, the earnings with Facebook Audience Network overshadows that of Google Adsense (and consequently, Google AMP). What to do now that we can’t monetize our blog with FAN? Simple. Use your website to earn money through affiliate marketing! More on this topic later.
Losing access to Instant Articles made me realize the age-old advice of top internet marketers: do not place your properties on platforms that can easily take it away anytime. That’s why they always say you should have your own website and create your own product. Also, don’t focus all your efforts on one traffic source alone. Once it’s gone, you’re gone, too.
I will now put this to practice.
What about you, will you be cramming to get your Instant Articles access back? Let us know what you think.