Images: Facebook

Facebook says that early tests for its news subscription product have been successful: People who saw Instant articles from publishers in its test group in May were 17% more likely to subscribe to those publications directly from Facebook than people who saw standard web links.

Why it matters: Facebook says the results show that its efforts to help publishers create meaningful revenue streams outside of advertising on are effective.

"We're seeing a healthy double-digit increase."
— Alex Hardiman, Head of News Products

What they're saying: Executives from several publications, including The Washington Post and Hearst, write that they are so far pleased with the tests' performance.

  • Facebook says it's adding updates to the initial product, including tools that enable publishers to define when a reader sees a paywall, more flexible meters (monthly vs. weekly vs. daily, etc.), and support for occasion-based special offers (like a July 4th discount.)

What's next: Other subscription investments are also in the works.

  • Facebook says it will begin working with publishers in Latin America to integrate their subscription models into Instant Articles as well, like O Globo in Brazil.
  • It's also testing a button on a publisher's Facebook page that allows a publisher to promote their subscription offer. (They hope to add this in a few months.)

The bigger picture: Hardiman says that sharing data with publishers on the effectiveness of tests can better inform a subscription roadmap to help elevate publishers' subscription efforts.

"Our goal is that wherever there is news content on Facebook, we want to give publishers better tools to drive subscriptions."

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