Financial Times

Google ditches first click free, embraces paywalls

This week, Google killed its ‘first click free policy’, which required that publishers employing a paywall offer Google Search and Google News users three free articles per day. Those that didn’t saw their search rankings demoted.

For years, publishers complained that first click free policy made it difficult for them to maximize their subscription revenue. Yet many chose to follow it rather than give up Google referral traffic.

A new ad metric? The Financial Times creates ‘cost per hour’

Despite the significant innovations that have taken place in online ads in the past several years, advertisers still largely rely on metrics like CPM and CPC to quantify their digital ad spend.

To a large extent, the use of these metrics makes sense. They are simple and for many channels, are reasonably meaningful. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no room for innovation.

What caused the daily digest email wars?

The Financial Times has launched a daily digest email called First FT.

I’ve noticed a retro trend for daily and weekly digest emails from publishers, with Quartz‘ version regularly cited by digital folk as the first thing they read in the morning.

Here’s why email is enjoying a bit of a resurgence. I’ve included some examples of other publishers and their daily digests.

In conversation: the CEO of the Financial Times

I’ve been writing about presentations I watched at Digital Media Strategies 2014, including talks by Verdens Gang, Axel Springer and the New York Times. So apologies if publishing isn’t your thing. 

But that’s sort of the joy of discussing media companies, how do they become more than mere old fashioned publishers. How do they find new streams of revenue and restructure so that subscriptions work and digital actually makes some money? 

One of the spots at the aforementioned conference was CEO of the Financial Times, John Ridding having a fireside chat with Ken Doctor, President of Newsonomics. 

Many interesting facts, figures and opinions were teased out, so I thought I’d round them up here.

Do publishers’ paywalls kill sociability?

If one of the things we’ve learnt so far within digital marketing is that becoming more social is a key ways to succeed, does the installing of a paywall on newspaper run websites effectively mean ‘killing’ their shareability?

The most topical example of this is The Sun’s recent introduction of its subscription service. Named Sun+, this has attracted 117,000 subscribers to its £2 a week service in approximately three months.

With The Times, The Telegraph, Financial Times all having already installed paywalls at various points in their online existences, with varying degrees of success, has this made a difference to how their material is shared?

Do they even care? If they are making enough money from subscribers, then perhaps the volume of traffic is unimportant to them.

Within your own social circles, will followers of your channel be annoyed that you’re posting a link to something they need to pay for? This obviously introduces a whole new argument about the value of content, and whether it should be free or otherwise.

Our editor-in-chief Graham Charlton (pictured above) took an in-depth look at The Telegraph’s metered paywall in his article earlier in the year, so let’s take a look at the other newspaper paywalls and attempt to shed some light on the questions raised.