The Internet has changed the way media works. Now anyone with a connection can get their news online. The abundance of information meant that it was harder for publicists to maintain any kind of competitive advantage. Legacy media companies had no choice but to adapt to the changing landscape.
This change was by no means easy; the technical requirements for profitable online operation far exceed those for operating a printing press that has existed for centuries.
Monetizing digital media is hardly simple or straightforward. Banner blindness, declining click-through rates, and ad blockers are just a few challenges publishers must contend with.
While these rates stack up against digital media, earning money as display advertising was the only way to monetize them. Fortunately, digital publishers now have the technologies to replicate the subscription model online.
What is a paywall?
Paywalls are a way for digital publishers to restrict access to their content. Users can usually purchase a paid subscription to remove these restrictions. A distinction is made between different types of restriction.
With a hard Paywall the user must first subscribe to online content before accessing it. This method is quite risky, as the publisher will lose a large part of their audience and visibility.
Nevertheless, there are use cases for a hard Paywall. It can work if you target a specific niche and offer exceptional content.
This type of restriction allows users to view a certain number of items. Then, they have the option to sign up for full access to access all content. Soft paywalls offer a good balance between profitable revenue a fair treatment of users. In addition to a relatively lower drop in pageviews, reader retention is typically higher compared to hard paywalls.
Some publishers also use a combined Paywall. Here, the user has free access to selected content, but others are available only to premium users.
Because the media ecosystem is so complex and diverse, there are no set formulas for what exactly will and won't work. It depends on many factors and cannot be generalized. For example, the uniqueness of the content or the preferences of the target group play a decisive role.
Should you use a paywall?
A hard Paywall is probably not the right solution for everyone. However, you could use a soft Paywall with restricted access to specific content. Thus, you could potentially increase your overall revenue without finding significant traffic losses. Nevertheless, you should keep in mind that most of the users will come to a Paywall are in a negative mood.
In summary, paywalls can be a great revenue strategy, but there are some conditions to consider. For example, you should already have a solid readership and high-quality content. And you also need to be convinced that a certain percentage of your readers are willing to pay for access to your content.« Back to Glossary Index