Thanks to our work with publishers from around the world, we’ve uncovered so many little tricks that, despite being simple to implement, will significantly increase paywall conversion rates. There are 5 of these in particular that are essential to put in place before you dive into the more complex dynamic strategies”Maxime Moné, speaking on Mediarama’s podcast with François Defossez.
2016, Bordeaux: Maxime co-founds Poool (owner of The Audiencers) to provide digital content producers with the tools to better convert, manage and retain their members and subscribers on both desktop and mobile. The first product on-the-market, Poool Access, the Audience Conversion Platform, is now used by over 140 publishers around the world.
Whether you’re planning on launching a subscription model or are looking to optimize your existing strategy, Maxime has 5 simple hacks for you to increase conversion rates, effective for all types of paywalls (implemented by Poool or not).
Hack #1: Make sure visitors see the paywall
It’s self-explanatory: the more a user sees the wall, the more chance that they’ll subscribe. But between the % of traffic who have the potential to be exposed to the paywall (i.e. they visit a premium article) and the visitors who scroll far enough to actually see the wall, we already see a 50% loss in audiences on average.
To combat this loss of potential subscribers, you have a few options:
- The most effective: display a full-page wall covering all content, just like The New York Times or FT. In this case, the reader only has to scroll a tiny bit (if at all) to see the paywall, and you’ll guarantee yourself 95-100% visibility. Obviously, if your business model depends partly on advertising, you’ll have to be careful not to hide your ads and damage revenue. It’s therefore not a hack suitable for everyone.
- The most risk-free: try moving the paywall further up the article. In most cases, paywalls are displayed after 20% of the content, or after the 2nd paragraph. So try reducing the amount of text available to read before the wall. One of our clients tested this strategy, increasing the percentage of text blocked by 10% (from 80% to 90% blocked) which led to a 3.9% increase in paywall visibility rate within 5 weeks.
- The most adaptable: let your editor choose where the wall will block! This allows them to integrate the paywall into their storytelling, adding the wall just before the cliff hanger to better encourage conversions. This is what Eric Le Braz calls The Hourglass Technique.
- The most basic thing to remember: make sure your paywall load time is fast, and that it’s called early on, especially in relation to your ad scripts. Pre-upload, and optimize the weight of font and images.
KPIs to track to measure success at this step: - Paywall visibility rate: no. of paywalls viewed / no. of paywalls loaded on the page - Click-through rate on the paywall
Hack #2: optimize the wording on your paywall