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Facebook trials subscription tool to appease Instant Article publishers

By John McCarthy | Media editor

Meta

|

Facebook article

June 27, 2018 | 3 min read

Social network Facebook is looking to deliver the goods for publishers concerned it is not doing enough to help them monetise while it flourishes from their content and presence on the platform.

As a result, these new features will be rolled in the US and Europe. it is aimed to allow publishers to better acquire Facebook audiences on Instant Articles.

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Publishers are invited to make money through advertising or driving subscriptions natively on the Facebook site, instead of their own, under the assumption the social network’s users would prefer to access content that keeps them in the ecosystem.

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Publishers are empowered to decide how many stories users can access (something the Wall Street Journal has been using AI to decide on its site). Furthermore, it can support time-based special offers and features a propensity model to understand the subscription likelihood of users.

Early tests saw that users who had access to the feature were 17% more likely on average to subscribe to participating publications, Facebook claims. The Washington Post is one of the early testers. Beth Diaz, vice president of audience development and analytics at The Post, said she was “pleased with the test’s performance so far”.

Tribune Interactive, La Repubblica and Hearst Newspapers also took part in the trial, offering critiques for Facebook here.

On top of these offerings, the company is also testing a promo button that will help circulate subscription offers through publisher’s Facebook pages.

The initiative will roll out to Latin America in the coming weeks.

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