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When To Use a Soft Paywall?

Updated: Jan 29

For the past decade, using paywalls has been the number one solution for digital publishers to help create a predictable revenue model. Monetizing content rather than relying on ad revenue empowered publishers and gave them the freedom to grow. However, selecting the right paywall strategy that would help and not hinder their business has always been a topic of debate among decision-makers. In this blog, we’ll be getting up close and personal with soft paywalls to help you decipher if this style of paywalls is right for your business.

What Is A Soft Paywall Strategy?

As you’ve already guessed, the definition lies within the title. A soft paywall is a type of flexible paywall strategy whereby readers are given limited access to content before being asked to sign up for full access. This type of paywall strategy is often associated with the metered paywall, where users can first get a taste of the style and quality of content they will receive before purchasing a full subscription.

A soft paywall is quite simply the opposite of a hard paywall. As hard paywalls do not allow any access to any content prior to obtaining a subscription. Many consider hard paywalls a bold gating strategy, as many risk factors could turn away the reader.

The Advantages of Putting Up A Soft Paywall:

Soft paywalls have many advantages that can help boost subscriptions. Attracting and entertaining casually strolling readers and convincing them of the exclusivity and uniqueness of your content is the way to go here. The idea is similar to food testing at the supermarket, you are really only convinced with a specific product after having a little sample. However, with content, you’re offering a handful of free articles to the readers before you go ahead and ask them to subscribe for more. In the next section, we’ll get into more detail about who should use a soft paywall and when.

3 Things To Consider Before Using Soft Paywalls:

  1. Community Size: Analyzing the size of your current readership base is essential when it comes to selecting your paywall strategy. Newspapers and magazines that have either recently launched or have a relatively small readership base are advised to go with soft paywalls. Enticing people to subscribe and pay for something they have no clue about is going to be a tough sell. Offering a free trial or a few free articles allows them the opportunity to get to know your product and the level of quality they can expect.

  2. Content Exclusivity: Do you offer exclusive content that is truly unique and cannot be found elsewhere? This is something that you will want to consider when launching any paywall. Scarcity creates value and boosts desire, so readers are more likely to subscribe if they feel that the product you are delivering is truly unique.

  3. Stop Rates: The stop rate is the percentage of users that have been intercepted by your metered paywall over a given period. Constantly monitoring and keeping an eye on this metric is quite important when deciding whether to continue using a soft paywall or not! Knowing how many people have encountered this wall and of those people how many converted will determine the effectiveness of your strategy as a whole. If the numbers are showing that your stop rates are 1-2% then the paywall itself might not be functioning properly or the type of content being accessed is simply not good or competitive enough. 

Comparing your stop rates before, after, and during the implementation of a soft paywall can help you understand what went wrong and how to fix it. Through Pelcro’s robust integrations with the likes of google analytics, you now have the opportunity to view a variety of these highly influential metrics and data points, like page views and actions taken within every page. To get to know more about these metrics and how we provide you with them, check them out here in our documentation.

Need Help With Your Paywalls?

Selecting the right paywall becomes increasingly important when ensuring that your readers are translating into subscribed users. If you are looking for ways to implement a successful paywall, you’ve come to the right place. At Pelcro, our goal is to make your journey to a profitable subscription business, smooth and seamless. 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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