FAQs: Driving Paid Subscriptions on Facebook

To help marketers find answers to their pressing questions about paid subscriptions, we compiled a list of the questions we hear most frequently based on the webinar we hosted on the topic, as well as our work driving subscriptions (and other reader actions) for some of the world’s top storytellers like The New York Times, Star Tribune, Houston Chronicle, LA Times, Harvard Business Review, and The New Yorker.

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Do you benefit more from a Facebook page that focuses on fan engagement or subscriber growth?

There are definitely benefits to having a bigger and more engaging Facebook page. Not only will you come off as a better authority to users who see your content, but you will see favorable pricing in Facebook auctions as well. But at the end of the day, it’s not as useful to your business to have strong fan engagement on Facebook as it is to have paying subscribers.

Exact numbers vary, but under 10% of your Facebook fans will see your organic posts. This doesn’t allow you to “own” your audience in the same way that paid subscriptions do. While paid subscribers are much harder and more expensive to acquire than Facebook fans, they also drive direct revenue through both their subscription value, and through the much higher-than-average rate of organic return visits.

Why use Facebook to drive paid subscriptions rather than other platforms?

While it’s always good to test a variety of sources for any content distribution campaign, we continue to find that Facebook is the best channel for content distribution campaigns, and specifically for paid subscriber acquisition campaigns. This is for a few reasons.

First, Facebook has strong attribution capabilities. The Facebook pixel can track a single user across all of their devices without dropping a cookie. We find it to be the best way to attribute actions to a user and learn how they behave across time, platforms, and devices. This is crucial for subscription campaigns, where the user journey typically happens across multiple sessions and devices over an extended period of time.

On top of that, Facebook also has what we consider to be the best targeting in the media industry right now. Their advertising platform allows you to target audiences and optimize at a very granular level.

What kind of content do you find works best for paid subscription acquisition campaigns?

The best place to start is what your site is known for and what readers engage with most. If you’re known for your sports coverage, opinion pieces, hard-hitting breaking news, or cooking content, you’ll want to be sure to show users that content to prove your value to them. Remember, this campaign is all about proving the added value that your subscription service would provide.

With that said, this type of campaign is best optimized when you use content that can run for longer periods of time. Once you identify a story that converts users well, you can scale up spend on that story and continue to use if for as long as it’s relevant. Because it is running over a period of time and being seen by a variety of users, you can apply constant and ongoing optimization to that campaign. Many publishers find that content that can run for a month or more is therefore the best.

For publishers whose focus is on breaking news or seasonal content, we try to find some balance between that core content and more evergreen content in order to achieve scale.

Is there a minimum budget I need to spend on my first subscriber acquisition campaign?

Generally speaking, you’ll want to spend enough to drive a statistically significant number of conversions. Take that number of conversions multiplied by your target Cost Per Acquisition, and there’s your starting budget. For most publishers, we suggest this be at least 100 conversions a month.

If you’re just getting started with subscriber acquisition and don’t have any data on your users yet, you’ll likely have to spend more than that to start to build up some data on your funnel.

How do you learn more about your subscriber behavior before kicking off a paid acquisition campaign?

To learn more about your users behavior, you’ll want to track actions across your site. Then, you can look at the users coming in and their behaviors and try to start correlating those behaviors with conversions.

You can look at which types of users are converting at a higher rate, what they were doing right before they converted, what type of articles they read, how much time do they spend on site, and how often they come back.

These insights will help guide any paid efforts to acquire new subscribers, as you can try to emulate these types of users and behavior patterns.

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If you have any more questions about paid subscriptions campaigns, feel free to reach out to info@keywee.co. To see how Keywee is helping the world’s top storytellers acquire new subscribers, request a demo.

About Keywee

At Keywee, we make stories relevant and powerful for the world’s best storytellers — like The New York Times, The BBC, National Geographic, Forbes, and Red Bull.

Today, people aren’t coming to websites to search for content — stories find their audiences in feeds and apps. The upshot? Distribution is now the key for effective storytelling. Keywee’s platform unlocks audience insights using AI and data science, and infuses them into every step of the storytelling process: from topic selection, to story creation, to distribution and optimization. Keywee is backed by leading investors such as Google’s Eric Schmidt and The New York Times, and has been a fast-growing, profitable startup since its inception. To learn more, request a demo here.