SAN FRANCISCO: Starting this week, Facebook is rolling out call-to-action features to all publishers using its Instant Articles format that are aimed at helping publishers to drive more digital conversions.

The new tools mean that users can sign up to receive a publisher's email newsletter or like its Facebook page, so making them eligible to receive updates and posts from the publisher in News Feed.

Facebook also announced in a blog post at the end of last week that it is working with a small number of publishers to test other call-to-action tools so that users can sign up to digital subscriptions or download a publisher's mobile app.

"We recognize that publisher business models are diverse, and we're continuing to collaborate with the industry to identify and develop new call-to-action units to deepen relationships and form new connections between people and publishers," wrote Josh Roberts, Product Manager at Facebook.

According to Roberts, Facebook has been testing the new call-to-action tools with some of its publishing partners, including Slate Group and The Huffington Post, both of whom saw increases in the number of people signing up for their email newsletters.

"Facebook Instant Articles is now one of our highest performing acquisition channels for driving email newsletter subscribers," said Mark Silverstein, Head of Business Development at The Huffington Post. "Over the last three months, IA CTA's generated 29% of the HuffPost Morning Email signups."

Meanwhile, Chris Schieffer, Senior Product Manager at Slate, said Facebook's call-to-action accounted for some 41% of its total email newsletter list growth over the past two months.

It appears the new call-to-action initiative is designed to allay concerns among some publishers about Instant Articles, which allowed them to upload content more quickly, but had the downside of keeping the content on Facebook rather than directing readers to publishers' own websites.

With its latest move, it seems the company has recognised that more needed to be done to win publishers over. As explained by Roberts: "Across the board, publishers want to have more direct lines of communication with their readers and drive the conversions that matter to their business."

Data sourced from Facebook; additional content by WARC staff