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Metered Paywall Best Practices

Updated: Jan 29

The birth of monetizing content started with print. A time when newspapers and magazines included columns, full-page and half-page ads as a way to make ends meet. By the time the internet entered homes, readers turned to their computers as a convenient way to consume news and information. This meant that publishers could no longer rely on print ads for their source of income and were forced to adapt, switching to digital ads for their new source of income, which came in the form of side columns and wide banners on their websites.

However, this solution was no longer reliable with the rise of Ad blockers in 2009, where digital publishers were forced to change their strategy yet again. This is when paywalls entered the chat. To combat dwindling ad returns and with readership numbers dropping by the day, paywalls were introduced. In this blog post, we will discuss the best practices of one of the most commonly used paywalls; the metered paywall.

What Is a Metered Paywall?

A Metered paywall is a type of soft content barrier that functions based on a predetermined article meter set by the publisher. The meter enables readers to access a chosen number of free articles before asking them to either sign up for paid access or register for a free account.

Types of Metered Paywalls

Wide Meter Paywall

The wide metered paywall is a page-wide banner that pops up and lets your readers know how many free articles they have left before they must subscribe to continue reading. In the model above, readers are granted an option to subscribe to receive one month of free access to premium content with the ability to cancel anytime. This provides a low barrier to entry and perceived flexibility which will increase your chances of conversion.

Regular Metered Paywall

The regular metered paywall is more subtle and appears in the form of a small side banner. It functions in the same way by stating the number of remaining free articles left, enticing the reader to subscribe. After the reader runs out of free articles, a paywall will pop up and notify the reader that he is out of articles, leaving subscribing as the only option left to gain back access.

*Bonus tip: You can also incentivize your readers to subscribe to this type of metered paywall by creating special offers, discounts, coupons, and giveaways.

3 Things To Consider When Choosing A Metered Paywall

Considering that The New York Times gives out 20 free articles per month after you surpass their registration wall, one might think that twenty is perhaps a good number to start with. However, chances are that you probably do not have 2000 staff writers employed and that you’re not publishing with the same frequency as The New York Times. So, based on insights gathered from most niche publishers in the field, 3-5 articles is a good average to start with so that your readers have enough of a preview to pursue action once they run dry of articles.

The Premium/Exclusive Effect

In general, people like to feel that what they’re paying for or subscribing to is exclusive and worth their money. Hence, gating your premium content behind a paywall gives the reader the feeling that they are part of an exclusive club or community, creating a sense of belonging and perceived value. Communicating the value and delivering on this value will create happy and loyal subscribers. Be sure to outline all of the perks of becoming a subscriber directly on your metered paywalls, so they have that reminder and can get excited about exactly what this membership will provide.

Paywall User and Brand Experience

Paywalls are like self-checkout machines, if they don’t look appealing, are not user-friendly, or fail to provide a fast checkout experience, people will give up, abandon their carts or go to a competitor. Having modern paywalls that not only match your brand’s identity but provide a seamless, quick, efficient user experience is a standard. Your business depends on your ability to attract and convert readers quickly. If you are looking for ways to optimize and improve your paywall conversions, book a consultation.

To learn more about Pelcro, Book a Demo with one of our representatives for an exclusive one-on-one product tour, or get started with your free trial right away and see for yourself.


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