Google’s Flexible Sampling Replaces ‘First Click Free’

Google have announced that they will introduce flexible sampling to subscription based publications, in order to help increase their potential subscription rate. This new program comes in two forms, lead in or metering.

Flexible sampling

The lead in format shows a part of the article without exposing all the content while metering provides visitors with a series of free content they can consume. This gives publishers much more control over the content they want to monetize and the content that they are willing to give for free.

Maximising Subscribers

Google have said that they will assist with optimising published articles through ad targeting tactics that will seek out and identify specific audiences which have displayed tendencies to subscribe to similar content.

All publishers must share their audience profiles to Google so they can curate and categorise them in accordance to the publisher’s data. This will help publishers, adjust and segment their content so it relates to those specifically targeted profiles.

Your subscriptions come first

Richard Gingras (vice president of news at Google) also announced that search queries will be directly related to subscriptions. Therefore if you’re subscribed to a particular publication and you decide to search a specific query, then that particular publication will be shown to you first.

For an example, if a Financial Times subscriber decides to search “Theresa may defends Boris Johnson”, the Financial Times page above will be visible to them first.

These changes have come due to the growing notion amongst publishers that Google simply does not cater to their value proposal. These changes are basically Google’s way of saying “we care about what you do”.

Some of these changes will not come into effect straight away, though first click free is being implemented immediately. Whether this will increase bounce rates or subscription rates is yet to be seen.