Digital Magazine Content and the Impact of Social Networks

Google safeguarding websites from fake traffic; Google and Facebook release subscription info for digital magazine content publishers 

Digital magazine content can find great homes online, especially when it’s offered throughout a variety of popular channels.

Today we’re looking at some offerings for digital publishers that are coming from Facebook and Google, as these major social networks continue to work on their relationships with content and revenue.


We begin today with Google, which is offering refunds to digital magazine content publishers who got duped by fake traffic. WSJ reports, “Google is issuing refunds for ads that ran on websites with fake traffic, people familiar with the situation said, as the web giant develops a tool to give marketers more transparency about the ads they buy through its platform.”

“Google is working on a fix it hopes will provide some clarity over which technology providers in the ad-buying chain are responsible for issuing refunds. It is also working on technology to ensure advertisers automatically receive a full credit back from Google and its partners if incidents occur.”

The article continues by looking at the nature of ad fraud in the digital advertising industry. “The industry’s efforts to rein in fraud appear to have an impact. Some $6.5 billion in ad spending will be wasted this year to fraud, down 10% from 2016, according to a report released in May by the Association of National Advertisers and ad-fraud detection firm WhiteOps.”

We continue with Google for our next story, and look at its new subscription tool being tested. Bloomberg Technology reports, “Google’s latest foray arrives on three fronts. The first is a revamp of its feature, called “first click free,” that allows readers to access articles from subscription publications through search. Google is also exploring publishers’ tools around online payments and targeting potential subscribers. It’s all part of Google’s broader effort to keep consumers and content-makers returning to the web, the lifeblood of its ads business.”

“Initially, Google is testing the tools with New York Times Co. and the Financial Times. But Richard Gingras, Google’s vice president for news, said the search giant is talking to dozens of other outlets as media companies move toward online subscription models.”

The article continues with a look at how this tool may impact digital magazine content publishers. “Some publishers with subscription paywalls are concerned about Google’s search policy. If publishers sign up, they can bump up their articles high in search results, which otherwise bury pages that can’t be accessed for free. In return, they must give non-subscribers access to at least three articles a day for free. Right now, Google and the New York Times have been testing ways to drop that number down, Wilson said. The product changes are expected to come next month.”

Our last story looks at Facebook, another major online player, and its plan to sell subscriptions through Instant Articles. Folio: reports, “Publishers who have gravitated away from Facebook Instant Articles over fears of over-dependence may soon have cause to reconsider, as the social network confirmed on Wednesday the rumored addition of a function allowing users to purchase subscriptions to media outlets whose articles they read on the platform.”

In a post on Wednesday afternoon, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “Our goal is to work more closely with newsrooms to develop products like Instant Articles and tools for journalists to report their stories.” He continued, “As part of this, we’re going to test new ways to help news organizations grow their subscriptions. If people subscribe after seeing news stories on Facebook, the money will go directly to publishers who work hard to uncover the truth, and Facebook won’t take a cut.”

Have you been considering your options for developing and selling your digital magazine content? Do you need help from an industry veteran? If so, set up a time to chat with us. We have helped create digital magazine websites, editions, and subscription websites, leading to new revenue.


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