Understanding Paywalls: Subscription vs. Metered

Content has become a critical part of the game plan for websites across the globe. The idea is that businesses can increase awareness, engagement, and conversions with the right content.

While much of the access to content on the Internet has remained free, moving to paywalls is a change that isn’t always welcomed. There are many cases though, where setting up a paywall makes sense and can help businesses to increase revenue and capitalize on their quality output.

What is a Paywall?

Paywalls are a way to restrict access to content that lives on a website. Until a user pays to access it in some way, they will not be able to digest the copy.

Today, businesses of all sizes are setting up paywalls instead of relying on ads to bring in revenues from the online channel.

If you’ve been considering adding a paywall to your site, you might be wondering if it makes sense.

To start, you should know the different types of paywalls and what makes them unique.

Subscription Paywall 

A subscription paywall also referred to as a “hard” paywall, is one of the oldest formats of gated content. It restricts access until a visitor pays to access it. This can be done through a subscription to the site with a special log-in to gain access to the content on a one-off need.

This is what’s used a lot of time for companies that don’t want to restrict everything they put out on the web, but still want to gain revenues from some of the higher quality pieces they create such as white papers or exclusives in the publishing world, for example.  In some cases, this can also be set-up as a “premium” membership where only some content is gated behind a paywall.

Metered Paywall

A metered paywall, also referred to as a “soft” paywall, is one of the most implemented types of paywalls used by a variety of industries.  In this case, the payment option is only used in certain cases. In other words, an online browser has access to most of a site’s content until they reach a pre-set parameter. Things like the total number of pages clicked, or other factor triggers when to activate the paywall block.

This is a more subtle approach to weening readers into the pay model without demanding they subscribe and pay immediately. Instead of a focus on engagement and converting them based on value to sign up for the paywall feature.

WordPress Paywall

Another form of paywall that’s increasing in use today is tied to WordPress – the content management systems powering over 30% of the web today. With a WordPress paywall plug-in, it’s possible to monetize on blog and web content – even outside of large business sites down to personal bloggers.

Depending on the type of WordPress site, the paywall plug-in can help monetize the content produced and become an additional source of income if the content being put out is in high demand.

Subscription DNA offers a membership plug-in for WordPress that makes it easy to increase customer loyalty and quickly get up and running.

Get in touch today to learn more!

Here’s Why Subscription Services Are Working

Over the past decade, subscription services have grown from a new idea into an important sector of the economy, attracting customers across the United States and receiving billions of dollars in venture capital investment. Subscription companies offer a wide array of products, but what they all have in common are novelty and excitement.

Why Subscription Services Appeal to Consumers

Neuroscientists have discovered that when humans have new experiences, parts of the brain that are associated with reward and pleasure-seeking are triggered. This principle is at the heart of the success of subscription box services, in which consumers pay to receive boxes containing a variety of items.

Subscription services fall into three main categories:

  • Curated services which send customers collections of personalized items that are chosen based on consumers’ stated preferences.
  • Replenishment services which provide customers with items they use on a regular basis, which eliminates the need to go to a store and saves people money.
  • Subscription services offer consumers access to exclusive items that they would not find elsewhere or provide discounts on things they would have bought anyway.

Although they give general guidelines related to the types of items they would like to receive, customers choose subscription services because they want to be surprised by some of the things they find in their boxes. Receiving new and unexpected items tailored to their preferences is a large part of what makes subscription services so appealing to consumers.

Companies that offer subscription services often use machine learning to decide which items to include in individual customers’ boxes. Consumers can specify their preferences and provide feedback on the items they have already received to help companies choose items for future boxes that more closely align with what customers want and enjoy.

What Makes Subscription Services Successful

The novelty of opening boxes and receiving surprises each month is one of the main reasons why customers sign up for subscription services and stick with companies for years. Businesses that consistently offer interesting and high-quality products retain consumers and succeed over the long term.

When handling recurring payments, making the process easy and seamless is essential to keep customers satisfied. If you are thinking about setting up a subscription service, or if you already operate one but have found your current payment system too complicated or burdensome, Subscription DNA can make things simpler. We can process regular recurring payments and make signing up easy for customers. Contact us today to learn more!

Subscription Services Heat Up in Retail

If you ask any consumer today who has convenience as their top priority, the subscription services industry is the best thing that’s happened to meet their needs and desires when it comes to purchasing goods. Today everything from clothing to music, food and even cars can be purchased through no-hassle subscription plans.

Why Subscription Services Are So Hot

For consumers, it’s all about saving money and time and as an added benefit, discovering personalized products they might never have discovered.  For retailers, benefits include the ability to gather key data about their products and what to offer to the market, as well as the ability to increase brand awareness and engagement and open new potential avenues for growth.

Retail Market Heats Up

In the retail industry, which has been a leading source for subscription services, more companies are turning to the option. Well-known clothing brand American Eagle, which closed a number of brick-and-mortar stores back in 2017, has now announced a subscription service targeted at Gen-Z shoppers. This new emerging power customer is more concerned with being responsible for their footprint and moving away from the quickly disposable fashions that have become so popular. Called, “Style Drop,” the service allows online shoppers to create a virtual online wardrobe that’s shared with other online users. They keep what’s sent to them or send it back. The company is still testing the service and will add and adjust features as they learn more about what shoppers want.

Shoe giant Foot Locker is also grabbing a foothold in the market and recently invested in Rockets of Awesome, a clothing subscription service for kids that has grabbed the attention of celebrities and other backers. Targeting the pain points of busy mothers and kids who quickly outgrow clothing and shoes, the brand is changing the game for how to shop for children.

Subscription Billing Software

Subscription DNA’s subscription billing software makes it possible to accept payments from credit cards, checks, purchase orders, and even processors like PayPal. They also help brands move forward in their customer engagement and branding strategies by offering membership management features like drip marketing, CRM and registration tools as well as subscriber portals, paywall functionality, and much more.

Get in touch to learn more!

Success with Subscription-Based Content Requires Focus and a Good Platform

It’s been a rough year for media companies, and 2019 has barely started. Layoffs at BuzzFeed, Verizon Media and Gannett have underscored that traditionally successful media organizations – even in the modern digital age – are having a hard time making ends meet in an era when readers expect everything for free.

It’s become increasingly apparent that to survive, media companies will need to create enough value that audiences will pay for it through a paywall or subscription. This means boosting the quality of the content and trying not to be all things to all readers.

Creating Quality Niche Content

“To be successful in the future, publishers should still create the niche content that draws audiences – for which they might even pay a subscription fee,” wrote Sarah Sluis for AdExchanger. “But publishers must find new and creative ways to monetize those passionate audiences, to entice brands to connect with them and complement their platform advertising.”

Offering free content in competition with platforms such as Facebook and Google is a losing strategy. Likewise, offering generic, poorly prepared content under a paywall is also a losing strategy.

Companies with media aspirations need to identify their potential super-users, produce high-quality content aimed at those readers and then induce them to pay for it. At a recent AdExchanger media event, Bloomberg CEO Justin Smith called it a “radical resizing and rethinking, and reality acceptance process” and noted that companies “have to deal with the realities of 2019.”

A Sturdy Subscription Platform

Content isn’t the only challenge, however. Most media companies don’t have a solid foundation in place for creating a paywall. Software-as-a-service-based solutions such as the offerings we provide to clients can help media companies and others build a custom process that precisely matched their business model.

“To run a successful subscription-based web site, you need the right subscription billing and membership tools and the right team,” according to Subscription DNA. “[Our] clients range from small businesses to large ventures serving remote software, educational enrollment to video delivery, digital and print publications, e-learning, medical programs and more including both retail bricks/mortar establishments and online web applications.”

The solution enables not only payment collection and reporting, but subscriber communications and marketing, group email notifications and membership management. Contact us today to get started! 

Research: More Consumers Are Turning to Subscription Services than Ever Before

Subscription services are gaining popularity today as the market seeks out new, convenient and fun ways to buy products and services. Also to quench their thirst to learn about new things that can enhance their lifestyles.

One recent report from Digitas took a closer look at the rate at which people are turning to subscription services and why they’ve become such an in-demand service for the market.

The new research, “The Subscriber’s Dilemma: From ‘More Please’ to ‘No Thanks,”  conducted by the Harris Poll for Digitas,  surveyed over 2,000 U.S. adults and found that among them, over 1,400  currently have active subscriptions services.

While these numbers are promising, there is another layer for brands to consider when it comes to providing value while beating out the competition.

Overcoming Challenges

Delivering just the right amount of communications and outreach, accurately and consistently billing for these services are a few of the hurdles brands face without the right tools in place.

As more companies jump on the subscription services bandwagon, it’s important that they create services and offer products that are must-haves if they want to draw in the number of subscribers needed to be successful.

The goal is to offer, “convenience, access, and perks that they feel they can’t live without,” according to the company.

The report also looked more closely at the types of subscription services consumers we’re gravitating toward and found that clothing and entertainment ranked high on the list for “must have services” with transportation and personal care subscription services failing to impress at this time.

As far as reasons consumers are choosing to subscribe, they noted validation from friends and peers about their subscription items was more important than gaining access to exclusive content when they choose a service.

Other telling information released as part of the study and of extreme importance for companies as they get started with their subscription services, is the fact that respondents said they prefer to receive communications from the subscription companies via email with many saying they’d prefer not to be contacted by a chatbot about the service.

Understanding the market and developing solutions and services that target get the right audience is key when building a subscription-based service.

SubscriptionDNA makes it possible to save time, money, and do more to please customers and potential business. Our enterprise cloud billing and membership management software makes it easy to control every aspect of your subscription business. Streamline business and save time.

Contact us today to get started!