Facebook's and Google's subscription tools offer publishers modest improvements


Facebook and Google are creating tools to help publishers sell more subscriptions, but for some, the efforts aren't helping much.

Facebook allows people to subscribe to publications through its Instant Articles algorithm, which the company said would take about eight weeks for publishers to integrate. Those that used Google, still haven't integrated its tools completely, partly because they have been difficult to learn. Google's subscription program makes it hard for newspapers that have paywalls because of the programming.

Participating publications have seen incremental increase in subscriptions, but many publishers that have been outspoken of their experience are impressed by how the platforms have improved engagement and retention for them. 

The platforms are taking other approaches to aid in readership rates and engagement. Google captures data that show how likely audiences are to subscribe and Facebook makes it easier to follow publications on the platform after people subscribe to them, which helps people to see more content. However, both algorithms are in the developing stage, and it is unclear when they will be fully ready to be used by publishers. 

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