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Registration wall: benchmarking publishers’ account creation journey

We're all aware by now of the value of registration for collecting first-party , boosting and personalizing the user experience, not to mention supporting both ad and subscription revenue streams. And one of the most effective ways of converting anonymous visitors into logged members is through a . Content is blocked and a reader is asked to create an account in exchange for access to the article and other benefits.

What's often overlooked, however, is the user journey and their first few minutes as a new member. Just like subscription, this is your moment to:

  • Collect data but not too much to cause friction
  • Make sure a reader is aware of the value gained from registering
  • Offer a variety of account creation options (e.g. sign in with Google or email)
  • Personalize the user experience (e.g. choose content topics to personalize their home page)
  • Increase engagement (e.g. form a habit through newsletters)
  • Promote subscription to increase reader revenue
  • Provide value from the moment the account has been created

To give you some inspiration, here are 5 examples of each step in the registration wall journey:

South China Morning Post

What we like in particular with this journey: the onboarding journey which includes personalization features and a step promoting subscription.

You'll also like: How launching a registration wall led to higher LTV amongst subscribers at Alternatives Economiques.


What we like in particular with this journey: we're never redirected – everything is completed on the article we were hoping to read. Plus we're offered a special subscription offer immediately after registering

The Economist

What we like in particular with this journey: the double wall ( and registration) plus a very simple onboarding but one that always gives us the option of going back to the article we were hoping to read before being blocked


What we like in particular with this journey: we're redirected straight back to the article we were originally accessing

The Washington Post

What we like in particular with this journey: personalizing in the onboarding journey impacts the newsletters presented in step 3, meaning content is immediately adapted to our interests, supporting engagement

Registration wall journey best practices:

  • Onboard newly registered users just as you would subscribers, considering which engagement actions often lead to high LTV
  • Make sure to connect registration with subscription, if you employ a premium model
  • Bring the reader back to the article they were hoping to access in the first place
  • Offer real value in exchange for registration, making sure to emphasize this value at each step in the journey – find 10 ideas here
  • Reduce friction and only ask for the information you need
  • Welcome the reader, either onsite or via email
  • Consider offering the option to register with an existing social account, such as Google, Facebook or Apple
  • Don't forget about the registration experience on , perhaps offing app download as one of the onboarding steps