Although Facebook usually takes most of the heat, Google and the publishing industry have had a rocky relationship.
It seems like the platform has taken some measures to deescalate hostilities over the last year or so. Last year they pumped $300 million into the Google News Initiative to help the industry on several fronts, and they’re actively involved in some valuable industry projects like Newspack and many others.
One goal of the Google News Initiative is to help legacy publishers adapt to the modern digital world.
“Subscribe with Google” ties into this.
By allowing readers to sign up to a variety of news outlets’ subscription plans using their Google account alone, they sought to reduce the friction around the signup process and improve the user experience on publisher sites.
You can read Google’s blog post about the platform here.
Subscribe with Google is a platform designed to help publishers drive conversions and engage existing subscribers across Google and the web.
This solution enables customers to use their Google account and payment methods to subscribe across the web and also helps users stay logged in, retain access to their premium content, and encounter that content on Google products
Early partners in the project included The Washington Post, McClatchy and the Financial Times.
McClatchy CEO Craig Forman was optimistic, predicting that Subscribe with Google would help them in “creating a simple and frictionless way to welcome new subscribers”.
How has it been working so far?
For the Mexican publisher Reforma – pretty well!
They publish ten daily newspapers with the mission “respect the truth, and above all our readers”
They run three main digital sites: El Norte, Reforma and Mural, and were ahead of the times as one of the first news outlets in the world to launch a paywall way back in the early 2000s.
They switched over to Subscribe with Google back in March.
When we first learned about Subscribe with Google, it felt natural for us to be a launch partner, as it fit with our previous innovations to meet users’ demands and changing habits. We began implementing Subscribe with Google because the product makes it easier for our readers to become subscribers and stay engaged with our journalism.
Now over a third of all subscriptions come through the platform.
More impressively: 43% more readers converted to subscribers compared to the original signup process.
They’ve also seen that subscribers who come through Google’s platform consume more content, with 13% more pageviews on the site, which they suspect is due to the ease of staying logged in.
The experience has helped us more deeply understand changes we can make to our paywall to create a better experience for our readers. It has also reminded us to focus on letting people enjoy our journalism, instead of making them struggle to access it.
Is it time you implemented this Google’s seemingly improved subscription platform on your site?
Check out this short blog post from Google that goes through Reforma’s success story.
You can also read the full case study here to learn more about Reforma’s experiences.