paywall blocks users and asks or requires them to pay for subscription in order to access content. And with digital reader revenue strategies on the rise across the globe, paywalls are popping up across publisher’s websites.
Here are 50 paywall benchmark examples to inspire your own paywalling efforts!
The Irish Times 🇮🇪 ✅ A metered strategy allows users to discover the value of your content before being blocked ❌ Weak value proposition Courrier International 🇫🇷 ✅ Premium content is labelled to reduce frustration ✅ Benefits of the subscription offer listed in the wall Dagens Nyheter 🇸🇪 ✅ Form fields directly in the wall ✅ Registration to increase engagement El Mundo 🇪🇸 ✅ Subscription offers in the wall to reduce a step in the funnel ✅ Subscribe with Google option Alternatives Economiques 🇫🇷 ✅ Payment integrated into the wall to reduce a step in the funnel ✅ Countdown to create a sense of urgency to convert Fyens.dk 🇩🇰 ✅ Premium content labelled to reduce frustration ✅ Value proposition focused on supporting quality journalism Harvard Business Review 🇺🇸 ✅ Metered registration strategy ✅ Personalized wall based on data collected through registration Il Sole 24 Ore 🇮🇹 ✅ Bold colors and special offer forefronted ✅ Subscription benefits in the paywall Journal du Dimanche 🇫🇷 ✅ A single color represents subscription across the site ✅ Strong value proposition Kleine Zeitung 🇦🇹 ✅ Benefits in a readable bullet-point format ✅ Freemium strategy to increase engagement L’OBS 🇫🇷 ✅ Illustration supports comprehension ✅ Reassurance: ‘secure payment’, ‘no commitment’, ‘access to client services’ La Voz de Galicia 🇪🇸 ✅ Offers presented directly in the wall ✅ Key benefits of subscription forefronted in the wall The Seattle Times 🇺🇸 ✅ Metered model to allow for premium content discovery ✅ 100% visibility taking up the whole page with offers included to reduce a step in the funnel NZ Herald 🇳🇿 ✅ Premium content labelled to reduce frustration ❌ Additional click needed to discover other subscription offers The Economist 🇬🇧 ✅ Hybrid paywall/registration wall to increase engagement ✅ Subscription benefits listed clearly The Globe and Mail 🇨🇦 ✅ Strong value proposition fore-fronted ✅ Dynamic strategy to adapt to the reader The Initium 🇸🇬 ✅ Freemium model to balance frustration & engagement ✅ Good visibility The NYT 🇺🇸 ✅ Dynamic strategy adapts to the reader ✅ 100% paywall visibility rate with a sticky banner ✅ Clear value proposition Dei Welt 🇩🇪 ✅ Subscription benefits ✅ High premium content & paywall visibility rate Herald Sun 🇦🇺 ✅ Account creation & offers on the same page, reducing clicks ❌ No chance to discover content as this wall blocks on first visit Keskisuomalainen 🇫🇮 ✅ High visibility rate ❌ Extra click needed to see the subscription offers The Washington Post 🇺🇸 ✅ Subscription offers in the wall ✅ 100% visibility rate (sticky wall) ❌ Hard wall doesn’t allow for content discovery Apple TV 🇺🇸 ✅ 7-day free trial to increase engagement ❌ No list of benefits or chance to select our chosen subscription offer Berner Zeitung 🇨🇭 ✅ Free trial to increase engagement & allow for content discovery ✅ First-party data collection through registration Bloomberg 🇺🇸 ✅ Registration gives access to one article for free ✅ Sticky banner format means 100% visibility De Standaard 🇧🇪 ✅ Email collection in the wall ❌ No benefits of subscription shown at this stage Disney+ 🇺🇸 ✅ First-party data collection as a first step prior to the wall ❌ Can’t view any content before subscribing ELLE 🇫🇷 ✅ Subscription advantages detailed in the wall ✅ A single color represents subscription across the site Manorama Online 🇮🇳 ✅ Premium content labelled to reduce frustration ✅ Free registration offered before the paywall to collect data MasterClass 🇺🇸 ✅ Video extracts to help users discover premium content ❌ No benefits of subscription detailed in the paywall Neos Kosmos 🇦🇺 🇬🇷 ✅ Benefits of subscription detailed in the wall ✅ Optional paywall (with a “no thank you” button) allow for content discovery and reduces frustration Netflix 🇺🇸 ✅ Email collection as a first step ❌ No possibility to discover content prior to the paywall News24 🇿🇦 ✅ Premium content labelled to reduce frustration ✅ Free trial to increase engagement Nikkei 🇯🇵 ✅ Well-communicated value proposition ✅ Benefits forefronted on the paywall The Herald 🇬🇧 ✅ High paywall visibility rate ❌ More work needed on their value proposition The Standard 🇰🇪 ✅ Data collected in the paywall ❌ No premium content discovery prior to being blocked The Times 🇬🇧 ✅ High visibility rate with a sticky banner ❌ No chance to discover premium content before subscribing The Toronto Star 🇨🇦 ✅ High visibility rate ✅ Reassurance: “Cancel anytime” Večernji list 🇭🇷 ✅ Subscription offers in the paywall ✅ Benefits forefronted ❌ A lot of scrolling needed to view the whole paywall South China Morning Post 🇭🇰 ✅ Strong value proposition ✅ Premium offers in the wall O Globo 🇧🇷 ✅ High visibility rate ✅ Registration prior to the paywall to collect data and increase engagement Publico 🇵🇹 ✅ Photos of journalists placed in the wall to encourage readers to support ‘real’ people ✅ A single color represents subscription across the site Luxembourg Times 🇱🇺 ✅ Subscription offers placed directly in the wall ✅ High premium content and paywall visibility rate Le Progrès 🇫🇷 ✅ Subscription offers included in the wall ✅ “Support your local journalism!” strong value proposition La Vanguardia 🇪🇸 ✅ Subscription offers included in the wall ✅ Strong value proposition Financial Times 🇬🇧 ✅ Subscription offers presented directly in the wall ❌ Hard paywall means no premium content discovery Sydney Morning Herald 🇦🇺 ✅ Soft conversion strategy to increase engagement (thanks to a metered registration model) ✅ Strong value proposition The Africa Report ✅ Strong value proposition ❌ No benefits or subscription offers included in the wall Les Jours 🇫🇷 ✅ Reassurance: “No commitment”, “Unsubscribe anytime” ✅ Additional link dedicated to students and companies Fakt 🇵🇱 ✅ Subscription offers included in the wall ❌ Scrolling needed to view the whole paywall BZ Berner Zeitung 🇨🇭 ✅ Subscription discount highlighted ✅ List of benefits Dennik N 🇸🇮 ✅ Free test with promise of being reimbursed ❌ Additional click needed to see the offers Die Presse 🇦🇹 ✅ Offers integrated into the wall with one highlighted ✅ Benefits of subscription The Business Times 🇸🇬 ✅ Value proposition focusing on a single benefit of subscription ✅ Offers & benefits integrated into the wall Paywall best practices to takeaway:
✅ Consider a soft conversion strategy, such as registration, to increase engagement prior to fully blocking the reader
✅ Ensure users have the chance to discover the value of your premium content
✅ Communicate a strong
✅ Include brand colors, selecting a single color to represent subscription
✅ In a freemium model, label premium content to reduce frustration
✅ Integrate other funnel steps into the paywall (such as the offers, payment or data collection) to reduce clicks and potential friction points
✅ Work on optimizing paywall visibility rate, aiming to balance frustration and engagement (we found 80% to be optimal, but A/B testing is recommended to find the best visibility for your publication)
✅ Make subscription easy, such as by offering account creation through Facebook/Google or payment through PayPal or Apple
✅ If you’ve already collected key data points (such as name or content interests) make use of it to personalize the paywall and experience. For instance, you could build a subscription offer suited to content consumption habits, or adapt the value proposition to their profile