Anyone who offers digital subscriptions as a web publisher always wonders how he does more reach into his paywalls sends. Even if in times like Corona the need for information leads to a lot of traffic and reach is not a problem, then the complaining of the portal operators about strong slumps on the website will not be ignored.
There are several ways to increase the reach of the site. See the "most effective channels". Also offers kontextR with inText links a format to get all the additional reach out of the publisher's own longtail and to direct it to Plus articles.
Nevertheless, I would like to keep one here, especially for Plus subscriptions Sales booster name that only works for mobile: Accellerated Mobile Pages, AMP for short, from Google.
What is AMP?
To put it flax: a publisher allows his articles to be on Google's server. Then Google can provide this content immediately when the user searches Google without having to load it from the portal operator.
The The advantage is clearly the speed and thus user experience. For this, the Extremely slimmed down and "freed" from much loved code.
Strictly speaking AMP a HTML framework. It takes some technical expertise as a publisher to use the technology.
Those who did it swear by AMP for their range gain in general. Even if, of course, you have given yourself back to your potential enemy. But you can comfort yourself, because in this case it's not about the competition in the ad business, but Google just wants to help you and the readers. That's just the way it is, you can't get by with the great and powerful - sometimes a friend, sometimes an enemy.
So if you can't win against your opponent, be like the water and flow around the stones 😉Sung Zu - in a modified form
What does AMP look like for the reader?
Once the reader is on a Smartphone the google search actuated, it receives one Carousel of small thumbnails with texts.
Because Google strongly considers the speed of articles for SEO rankings, of course those will Contents preferred that deposited with AMP are. Because these load the fastest, since they come from the Google CDN.
Benefits for publishers with a digital subscription
This means that Plus articles that are stored in the Google system via AMP not only load quickly for the user, but are also massively promoted by Google.
As I said, only on mobile! Because Google also wants to make sure that Readers with poor internet connection can view the content without much time delay can consume.
For sa lot of new reach into the publisher’s paywalls.
I heard from a well-known publisher that this 50% of subscription sales come from AMP traffic!!! An incredible number. Certainly not easy to copy, but possibly best practice!
Another advantage is that the Reader actively searched for the keywords and then directed into a matching Plus item. The increases the likelihood of subscription conversion considerable - the reader was not casually referred to the topic of the article, but rather appropriate to its search context.
Disadvantage of AMP for publishers
In addition to the above-mentioned market-political dangers and a certain initial technical effort on the part of the site operator, there is also the fact that many technical components of an article eliminated become. At least those that would slow down the page from a Google perspective.
That also means that some solutions from marketers or other content loaded from servers may not be displayed can. Exceptions for certain ad networks have been added, but the To a certain extent, publishers lose sovereignty over the content played and marketing freedom.
If you want to take advantage of AMP's opportunities as a publisher for your digital subscriptions, you will probably find yourself somewhat experience a strong jump in traffic.
Ad marketing options are limited by AMP. But right now for paid content it always applies that little or no advertising is placed here. At least because of the lower page impressions of paid content, ads are not that important.
Therefore a The strategy may be that a publisher only releases plus article URLs in AMP and therefore most of its content owned.
Use something in Germany more than a quarter of AMP publishers. Everyone has to decide politically and strategically for themselves whether this also makes sense for the rest. If you have a motivated technician, it may be worth a test.
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This is a personal experience report and self-reflection as an online reader. At the same time, I am the target group for heavy users of news portals. However, surprisingly I only have one payment subscription! Why?
What kind of online reader am I?
What characterizes me is that I read an average of 50 editorial articles a day. Before founding kontextR were also happy to be up to 200. The passion for information was certainly an important reason why I wanted to found a start-up in publishing.
Many, many browser tabs
In addition, I always have a lot of tabs open in the browser, which I then work off at some point - sometimes never. And that's how it feels to me sometimes: after work!
My curiosity, aroused by lurid headlines that I can't help but worry about missing out on important information, creates the inflationary accumulation of unread articles. At the same time, this creates a bad conscience. Everyone knows this who has many books at home that still want to be read. New articles are added every day. Mainly because I regularly browse through various news portals and receive many newsletters with tons of content.
Which tools for efficient reading do I use?
The following list of various tools that I use, mostly as extensions in the Chrome browser:
- to save tabs (Session buddy)
- to save memory with a hundred tabs (The Great Suspender)
- our self-developed chrome extension ZOOM Premium to enlarge the font)
- our also new Content blocker for clearer reading
- for our Link preview to know if it is worth it before clicking
We are constantly building new little helpers for and our readers. If only because parts of the team and I are extreme users. Other tools such as Pocket, Mercury & Co. are recommended. They don't noticeably optimize my performance in order to read even faster and more.
What does this have to do with paid content?
Before almost all of my preferred publishers had used a plus paywall in the past few years and months, I thought that the readers would mostly reject this. Why should you buy an article that you previously want to pay online free of charge and without hurdles? With the immense selection of alternatives on the web!
After all, a lot of digital content is free of charge because the large range of products brings the price close to zero.
But something happened - happened to me. Something in my own psychology that I wasn't expecting:
I am often happy that an article is “paid” so I don't have to read it!
That may sound strange! But it feels like a relief when I open one of the many tabs and see that I don't have to read it at all because I have to pay for it. For more than a dozen portals that I visit regularly, I would never pay 10-30 € per subscription per month. Paid content has managed to minimize the number of tabs and to clear my guilty conscience. Even if I have opened the Plus content, the first few lines are often enough to take the core message with me.
And if I really want to read an article that is behind a paywall, some publishers offer to read articles for free. At least a certain limited number per month before the articles disappear behind the payment barrier - see the article "Metered model - this is how sizes like SZ-Plus and Handelsblatt premium paid content use". Resourceful users solve this “technically” or, if not possible, simply through several email accounts. Where is it written that this is forbidden?
Do journalistic services always have to be paid for?
A journalist's objection may now be that editorial work must also be paid for. I would agree to that. Nevertheless, you need models that are attractive.
With morality you don't do business, but through customer benefits!
Why are there no more illegal music or video downloads today or have become unattractive for users? Because there are platforms like spotify, itunes, etc. that legally make it possible to consume digital assets far better than the free variants could ever do.
This means that publishers need this user experience model so that far more readers become digital subscribers. I have an approach to this in the article "At some point there will be an "Amazon Prime Press" for paid content"Described.
Nevertheless, I've been a Plus subscription customer for a few weeks now
Corona makes it possible. As an entrepreneur, I am very interested in trends and how you can use them. So I found a plus article that listed those listed companies that are growing strongly despite or because of the crisis. The first time, and by then I had opened a total of approx. 1000 Plus articles, I became a real Plus subscriber! And I have to admit, the publisher's provisioning process was top. Maybe I'll write about that soon, how to do it right.
Of course, I only have a test subscription first and then it gets really expensive. But digital people like me are relaxed with monthly termination options. Unlike generations before me, who subscribe and who require so much energy to cancel that they prefer to pay, quitting is a well-learned behavior among consumers born after 1975.
This should not be forgotten if publishers are currently offering trial months and are gaining a large number of new subscribers in the crisis. When Corona is over, quite a few subscribers will immediately pull the ripcord. At least if you don't really get regular quality and customized content. This is difficult because the demands are high and the needs of the readers are very different!
Customer loyalty will be the main challenge for publishers. Especially for the newcomers in the payment business, who only set the previous editorial service to “please pay now”. And that without the reader experiencing a quality boost. However, quality generates higher costs for the publisher, so that the margin can decrease critically.
Should you offer Plus subscriptions as a publisher?
From my point of view, a clear YES! Most publishers that will survive are doing this because of plus subscriptions. See "Why publishers should no longer sell online ads, but should instead rely on paid content?"
That is why it is all the more important that it is done correctly at an early stage. I recommend consulting external consultants or ours on request kontextR Business case calculator for plus subscriptions. The attractiveness of a paywall can thus be calculated with a few relevant parameters.
Heavy users like me in particular, who need hundreds of touch points in Plus articles to convert, have to be included separately in a target group analysis. For readers like me, from a critical number of opened paid content, the likelihood of completion is almost guaranteed. Personally, I rate this for my persona at a conversion rate of 0,2% for a national news portal. That means a portal has to go through various Range measures of the publisher generate a lot of traffic to the paywalls. examples for this are
- passanda Links in the texts
- Home page teaser
In my case, that would be about 500 clicks in Plus articles that would make me a customer. Of course, each target group has to be considered separately and it also depends on the content itself. But the message is:
the more readers are sent to the articles with paywalls, the more subscriptions -> traffic * conversion rate = subscribers
For publishers who are already well positioned kontextR PLUS + is an approach for thousands of millions of clicks in the Plus articles. With the Sales calculator a publisher can quickly calculate whether the solution has a relevant contribution to their business.
Some will have thought when reading the introduction, where does it take time to consume so many articles? On the one hand it is my business, on the other hand it has to do with a personal curiosity and thirst for knowledge.
Nevertheless, I would recommend to everyone who is feeling the same to read less! Perhaps then really only paid content articles, which hopefully will have an over-galactic quality and relevance to my life.
I have been reducing the amount of content continuously for years. And who knows, maybe through “digital detox” I will get to the point of not wanting or having to take in any more information - just simply being.
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As soon as online publishers discover "paid content" as a business model for themselves, the question arises what exactly the payment barrier should look like? After all, you don't want to scare away your readers and experience drops in page impressions. This, in turn, would have a strong impact on the number of advertising plays and thus ad sales.
Various paid model approaches are available to website operators. Whether the printed newspaper as ePaper, a hard paywall for all online content, only pay after use as with laterpay or the metered model ..., there are various possibilities and combinations in the room.
A lot has been tried out over the past ten years and certain successful models tend to crystallize. Based on the South Germans with their SZ-Plus subscription offer und dem Handelsblatt online subscription I would like to show how it can work. Knowing well that these platforms are constantly evolving. It should also be noted that every publisher is different. But you can always learn something from the successful ones.
The setup of the South Germans for Plus
The process and structure should be very similar to that of Spiegel.de. Stefan Plöchinger, who was instrumental in building the subscription business at SZ, was obviously poached by Spiegel to adapt exactly the recipes for success there.
The following setup now identifies the subscription funnel to win new SZ-Plus subscribers:
- always free (News) articles
- optional free Item - in the metered model with a value of approx. 10
- always plus paid items
As far as I can tell, the SZ editorial team is encouraged to do every editorial Label articles according to this categorization. With a value, for example 1-3.
An News article would be flagged with a "1" in the CMS. Especially when the "fast content", for example DPA news, can also be read in many other places, it makes little sense to ask for money for this poor journalistic quality. This can scare readers off and the publisher may lose page impressions, which are essential for advertising bookings and sales.
There are also articles with the Mark "2", which is optionally free even if there is a higher editorial performance behind it. This is very important for a provider like Sueddeutsche, because it is a general interest publisher for as yet not subscribers Position the quality medium got to. The tactic here is dTo provide readers with a limited number of articles free of charge without Paywall. Within a certain period of time, the default is one month. In the SZ is the metered value at approx. 10. This means that a reader can read 10 articles of category “2” completely and freely, before all of them marked with “2” are only accessible with a plus subscription. Such an article will be upgraded as a Level 3 article over time and per reader.
A level “3” item is always a Paid content. This includes high-quality, researched information, data journalistic content and stories. These are never assigned to category 2. Usually these plus texts are longer. At SZ, the articles are always "readable". Ie after a few paragraphs, the paywall hides the other text.
Optimization of subscription contracts
I would always recommend reading the text to get to know the content and style of the editor. The SZ has apparently recently shortened the number of free paragraphs before the paywall hits.
This is an example how publishers can optimize sales. There are various options to test your own readers, how much to give them to read Increase conversion rate for subscriptions. A / B tests are important methods here for the responsible product manager.
The same applies to Tests on the metered value. This must be checked continuously. The SZ probably plays with certain variants, for example going down to 8. Always careful, as you mentioned, you don't want to overuse the reach of the website.
Although Traffic from non-subscription customers has become less important in Corona times is. On the one hand, because there is always a lot of demand for information and pageviews explode. On the other hand and much more essential that Reach can hardly be used for advertising. The ad bookings have plummeted by 70-90%. Therefore, right now in the Corona crisis, plus publishers can safely throw themselves on the paid content model and push aside the reservations regarding the advertising business. Most established websites try to capitalize on the situation for new subscribers, which is a valid market economy tool and rewards those who have previously relied on paid content. See, for example, the (Corona) campaign by FAZ +, editorially supported by Carsten Knop in his article "Why we make F + cheaper for you".
What about the Handelsblatt?
The Handelsblatt is currently the metered model value at 2. The publisher was one of the first to start with paid content articles and was able to test the parameters for its readers and optimize them over the years.
As an aside: This early start and know-how advantage is probably also the reason why the Handelsblatt digital subscription is not (yet!) Called “Handelsblatt Plus”. As is well known, it is often difficult for “first movers” to adapt to the market convergences that result from the accumulation of successful late bloomers.
The Professionalism at Handelsblatt can also be recognized from the fact that they use every opportunity to link readers to other articles. Whether via individual newsletter offers, the follow-tag system with which, as a registered user, you can only display the articles for which you are registering, and especially those many inText links in the articleswhich the editors set manually - as can be seen in the screenshot above.
The fact that this can also be done automatically and in a widely scalable manner in order to massively increase the range in the paywalls is also the approach with kontextR PLUS +.
Conclusion on the metered model
In my view it is Metered-Paywall is a nice opportunity for many publishers to gently approach the imaginary threshold at which the content should be paid. This can go so far that a publisher realizes that he is introducing a hard paywall everywhere. So there would only be plus items. Precisely because you have gradually reduced the metered value of free articles until it has had a negative effect in some way or not.
Basically, the metered value correlates proportionally to the brand of a publisher, its market position and thus the price for a plus subscription.
Special interest portals will tend to have lower metered values, like general interest pages.
Problems with the model
Finally, it should be noted that that Metered model with cookies works. Even if 1st party cookies are less critical in terms of future viability - see also the article "Why publishers no longer sell online ads ... ". In this way, users can set more and more granular settings in their browsers as to whether they also accept this form of user data collection. If not, these users can be difficult to track.
A tick on the metered model can also in private or incognito mode of various browsers his. Theoretically, the metered value can thus be shifted infinitely by the reader. This is technically partially solvable and, in my view, not (yet) a serious problem or reason not to test the model. Because most readers do not know such technical subtleties. This is the only way to explain the relatively low ad blocker rate of 20-25%. Low, because users who are familiar with almost all block advertising. This explains the ad blocker rate on game portals of over 80%. The kids just check it out!
22,369 total, 164 views today