Paywall Strategies for Digital Media
You are here

Paywall Strategies for Digital Media

Paywall Strategies for Digital Media

Review these strategies before debuting your paywall.

Implementing a paywall for your site can drastically increase your revenue but it can also drastically decrease your audience.

Paywall services are when you charge a fee for subscribed, paying users to be able to view content that other users cannot. While not all users are willing to pay for services you offer, many will if the process is simple. Paywalls do require lots of research and back-end IT, but the good part is that paywalls themselves are intuitive and easy to use. If you believe the content you offer your users merits a paywall, you must make sure that the content is accurate and interesting, at the very least.

Paywall Solutions

There are three basic types of paywalls with one of them being hard paywalls. Hard paywalls typically only display an article’s title and a few introductory paragraphs before asking the reader to pay to continue reading the article. This type of paywall is most commonly used for professional and financial articles because they offer specific, intelligent content. Hard paywalls may result in an immediate loss of your digital audience but over time, this solution can cultivate dedicated readership.

A metered paywall is another paywall solution and is currently the most popular subscription platform. This solution allows a certain number of free articles per month before it requires users to start paying to be able to view more articles. If your company is looking to use this solution, you must determine the right paid content threshold. To determine this, ask yourself two questions; how many stories should be given away and what should be charged after a user has reached that number? An excellent way to come to a reasonable answer to these questions is to do A/B testing over a course of several months.

Freemium is the last basic type of paywall and this type of paywall is perfect for low-traffic, niche-specific or regional title sites. If your publication targets a smaller audience, this type of paywall is excellent to consider adopting. This type of solution divides free and paid access by type of content and not by the number of visits coming to your site. Try pairing premium content like behind-the-scenes videos with social events to cater more to your loyal readers who are happy to pay extra to support their favorite brand.

Paywall Strategies for Digital Media

Before you decide to debut a paywall on your site, think about implementing some of the following strategies to ensure your paywall strategy pays off.

  • Have tough but not impossible paywall rules
  • Use A/B testing to answer marketing questions
  • Have a clear value proposition
  • Provide quality content
  • Have a strong brand
  • Constantly re-evaluate the balance of free and paid content
  • TEST any paywall plans you may have
  • Customize marketing messages and digital user experiences
  • Have a compelling paywall strategy in place for digital success
  • Create a content marketing plan
  • Optimize your paywall after you receive your testing results

So, are paywalls successful? Well, when the Times of London implemented a hard paywall, they lost over 90% of their audience upon its debut. Now, though, they generate over $60 million a year in previously nonexistent revenue. The Wall Street Journal also launched their hard paywall back in 1997 and now, they have over 900,000 subscribers.

If you’re thinking about debuting a paywall onto your site keep in mind that the kind of paywall is less important as your shift to a stable, recurring revenue-based business model. Also, keep in mind that subscription models are very attractive to advertisers and they typically pay 30% premiums to reach subscribers compared to general audiences.

Emily Pribanic
Emily Pribanic
Emily is a graduate of the University of North Texas. She has her B.A. in Advertising with a concentration in Copywriting. Emily has been writing since she was young and has a creative imagination. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her family and two cats.

    Leave a Reply

    Want to stay up-to-date with news and information from

    Subscribe Now

    This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Privacy Policy