Facebook's Subscriptions in Instant Articles and News Funding Program is Letting Publishers Grow Online

Facebook is testing the interests of digital publishers in getting the membership model of the social platform by introducing News Funding product and extending subscriptions in instant Articles.

In the last 18 months, Facebook has been testing subscriptions in Instant Articles with around 40 publishers from all around the world and getting their feedback to improve its services.

Sameera Salari, product manager elaborated with an example that implementations are being made easier for publishers as Facebook is working with third-party paywall providers, along with integrating with Piano, an international subscription commerce and customer experience provider.

Tribune Publishing has many media properties involved in test groups. Mark Campbell, chief marketing officer of Tribune Publishing said innovations like subscriptions in Instant Articles product by Facebook plays an important role in the digital subscription growth and revenue generation.

Instant Articles is warmly welcomed by audiences and the monetary gains from it due to a recent paywall is in favor, stated Campbell. Tribune had successful collaborations with Facebook in the past, like in Local News Digital Subscription Accelerator Program, and is looking forward to work further to attract more people to their journalism.

Last December, a welcome screen was added, as part of the improvements in services that prompted new subscribers to follow publishers’ pages and get access to subscribers-special posts. Though it will soon be available for all publishers.

According to Salari, the welcome screen has increased the publishers following from 54% to 90% by new subscribers and there has been a 40% increase in subscribers reading articles.

Facebook offers content without any cost and publishers are given the right for all the revenue generated, as well as complete control to establish a relationship with readers.


Facebook will not be following a one-size-fits-all approach, instead, every publisher will be offered products and programs according to their needs and preferences. For this, subscription transactions will take place on the publishers’ website directly, so they have control over the subscriber data, payments, and other relevant information.

To sort out the audiences and analyze their behaviors, publishers can use Facebook Analytics as well as any third-party analytics service if they want.

Shivendra Gupta, executive vice president of Business Standard, an Indian business newspaper, after trying the services of subscription in Instant Articles commented that Facebook has not only helped in the product integration process but also facilitating by giving marketing insights. This has proved to be beneficial in engaging traffic and improving Facebook feed engagements and the company is looking to work together in the future.

Salari also explained about News Funding program. People support publishers by paying for their journalistic services and in return get extra benefits, unlike non-paid subscribers, as receiving exclusive content to getting access to local cultural events.

Daniel Moreno, director of Mexico-based investigative news outlet, Animal Politico, talked about News Funding that this could be a useful business model, as it allows collaborating with readers, which is a way forward to mounting journalistic services.



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