Facebook has announced several updates to its subscription tools, and the addition of 28 new publishers to its paywall test.
In November last year, Facebook announced it was bringing a subscriptions paywall feature for publishers to use in Instant Articles, to help them improve their acquisition from its platform. The paywall feature was tested with a small number of publishers and has shown consistent and positive results, which it wants to replicate. So, Facebook is now adding 28 new publishers to its test and announcing some updates to its subscription tools.
The first update is to cut the development time of the subscriptions tool implementation by 75% to 1-2 weeks instead of 4-8 weeks. Also, Facebook is promising to integrate its Instant Articles paywall with third-party providers, making it easier for publishers to implement a paywall. One of these is Piano, “a leading paywall provider globally.”
The publishers that are joining the Instant Articles subscriptions test include:
From APAC & India: Business Standard and Malaysiakini
From EMEA: Libération, Haaretz, Expresso, Informacion.es, Il Fatto Quotidiano, Il Messaggero
From LATAM: El Espectador, Estadão, La Nación (Argentina), La Nación (Costa Rica), Nexo Jornal, La Prensa
From the US: Advance’s Syracuse.com; Business Insider; Gatehouse’s Cape Cod Times, Columbus Dispatch, The Florida Times-Union, and Times Herald-Record; McClatchy’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Kansas City Star, and Wichita Eagle; Newsday; Tribune’s Chicago Tribune, Fort-Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, Hartford Courant, and Orlando Sentinel
The second update is the ability for publishers to allow readers to continue reading if they share their email address – known as a publisher registration wall. In an announcement for the updates, Facebook explains that this is ideal for “publishers who want to build a deeper relationship with readers that have not subscribed yet.”
Conversion isn’t the only thing that publishers should care about though. It is also very important to retain current subscribers. Therefore, Facebook wants to show “current subscribers more of the content they pay for,” and give “publishers a direct way to reach their subscribers on Facebook.” Facebook says that these features will now be “available for all subscription-based publishers, not just those in the Instant Articles paywall test.”
Furthermore, after creating a new “Welcome Screen” encouraging new subscribers to follow a publisher’s Page and see more of that publishers’ content in News Feed increased the percentage of new subscribers who follow a publisher’s page from 54 to 94%. It also “increased the articles read by subscribers on Facebook by 40%.” The welcome screen was created after Facebook found that almost half of all subscribers were not following publishers’ Pages on Facebook.
Finally, Facebook is running two more tests: One is the ability for publishers to create posts targeted at subscribers and the other is a product that allows readers to support news publishers by being able to pay them directly on Facebook. The latter will begin with a “small set of local news and other memberships-based news publishers” this month.
We look forward to continuing to support publishers creating quality journalism through these initiatives moving forward.
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