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After 30% uplift in subscriptions, publishers roll out ‘Subscribe with Google’

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About a year ago, Google announced ‘Subscribe with Google’—a simple way to subscribe to news publications and maintain access everywhere: websites, apps, even search results.

‘Subscribe with Google’, according to the company, is “designed to help publishers drive conversions and engage existing subscribers across Google and the web.”

How does it work?

“Subscribe with Google lets you buy a subscription, using your Google account, on participating news sites,” the company explained. “Select the publisher offer you’d like to buy, click “Subscribe,” and you’re done. You’ll automatically be signed in to the site, and you can pay–securely and privately—with any credit card you’ve used with Google in the past.”

You’ll be able to access your subscription content whenever you’re signed in to your Google account. No more irritating paywalls popping up when you’ve already paid, and no more struggling to stay logged in when you switch from laptop to mobile device.

This is how ‘Subscribe with Google’ works:

“30% better than the publishers’ own workflow”

Since then, Google has made powerful forays into fast transactions with its ‘Subscribe with Google’ tech. At the last AOP Summit held in London, Christian Heise, Google’s Global Product Partnerships Manager, mentioned that “In tests with two major publishers, we have seen Subscribe with Google work 30% better than the publishers’ own workflow.”

A 30% uplift in subscriptions through ‘easy sign-in’, ‘frictionless payment’ and ‘improved discovery’ is, of course, a dream for publishers, and many of them signed up to test ‘Subscribe with Google’, including The Washington Post, The New York Times and the Financial Times.

Publishers decide how much content readers can sample from Search.

To date, almost 50 publishers from all across the world have begun integrating the product into their operations

Earlier this year, Google announced it is testing Subscribe with Google with The Guardian, which has managed to turn memberships into a bigger source of revenue than advertising

“A game-changer”

Google also rolled out its new subscription tool with the newspaper chain McClatchy, showing its support of local news outlets. The publisher has implemented ‘Subscribe with Google’ on all 30 of its local sites, including the Miami Herald, The Sacramento Bee, and The Charlotte Observer.

“By removing friction, there’s a new injection of energy that’s possible in subscriber economics,” said Craig Forman, President and CEO of McClatchy.

It’s sort of a game-changer — or at least has the potential to be a game-changer.

Craig Forman, President and CEO of McClatchy

Financial Times’ “6 months free” trial

After months of testing, more publishers have now started rolling out their offerings with ‘Subscribe with Google’, and in the initial stages, there’s some unheard of offers up for grabs, like the Financial Times’ “6 months free” trial.

“Consumers are willing to pay”

Consumers are willing to pay for digital news content, creating an opportunity to expand beyond ad revenue,” said Philipp Schindler, Google’s Chief Business Officer. “Our goal with Subscribe with Google is to ease the subscription process to get more readers consuming publishers’ journalism, as quickly as possible.”

According to AdAge, publishers will keep 85% to 95% of the revenue when readers buy subscriptions via Google, but this has not been confirmed by the publishers or the search engine.

“We plan to grow and evolve Subscribe with Google to help publishers identify likely subscribers, grow their subscriber base, and achieve financial sustainability,” said Jim Albrecht. Project Management Director of ‘Subscribe with Google’.

Download WNIP’s comprehensive new report—50 Ways to Make Media Pay—an essential read for publishers looking at the multiple revenue opportunities available, whether it’s to reach new audiences or double down on existing super-users. The report is free and can be downloaded here.

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