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Zephr Coffee Club #6 - To Paywall or Not To Paywall - May 7, 2020

Viktor Nikolov - Business Development | 7 May 2020 | Read time: 3 minutes
Topics | Paywalls, dynamic paywall, Coffee Club

Our Coffee Club was back in swing after one week off due to our new product launch taking precedence. Up this week was a conversation about Paywalls and Datawalls, and to bring a shakespearian thespian vibe we asked 'To Paywall or to Datawall - that is the question?'

Yann Petkov, one of Zephr's subscription experts, had been exploring recently the best approach to paywall or to datawall. To begin this breakdown, he looked at some key aspects starting with what has changed over the past 10 years.

- 2010 almost all digital news was free -> Today, the majority of reputed digital news outlets are charging for access.
- Tech advancement - 2010 was the year of the iPhone 3G S and Samsung GT, today we're onto iPhone 11 and Samsung S20! Smart-phones, cloud computing, machine learning are all lightyears ahead now.
- Non Media Companies with Subscription models was unheard of back in 2010, whereas now, with SaaS especially, the subscription economy is advancing at pace, with every company looking at recurring revenue models.
- Digital news/product consumer is now overwhelmed with options, whereas 10 years ago, this was still a growing trend, with focus still on print newspapers and magazines.

From here, he then started to explore deeper into different types of identity data wall and pay walls, and what these can include. We talked about different options like:

  • Hard
  • Dynamic 
  • Metered
  • Freemium
  • Hybrid of metered and freemium
  • Membership (donation)
  • Premium
  • Cross Site

With so many different options out there, how do you choose the right path for your site? This takes a lot of testing and deployment of different iterations, learning from the audience as they 'react' to your tests. AB tests are a great place to start, but essentially this is just ensuring you are able to drive conversion through whatever hypothesis you look to engage your users in.

Zephr encourages a Crawl, Walk, Run type of engagement with your consumers, ensuring you're firstly gathering customer data, which will drive incremental value across the entire monetisation spectrum - advertising, affiliates, events etc. From there you should look to develop an evidence based understanding of the customer journeys that underpin a successful subscriber strategy. Building on that enables you to increase your organisational agility and leverage date to scale up subscriptions, step up sales and ramp up renewals over time which then lands you with the ability to grow LTV, ARPU and optimise ad yield, manage churn and develop increasingly valued and valuable customer relationships.

To learn more about this, have a look at our full blog here.



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