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 - sometimes never - work through. And that's how it feels for 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. We recommend other tools such as Pocket, Mercury & Co. My performance doesn't optimize them noticeably 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 didn't expect:
I am often glad that an article is "paid" so that 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 absolutely want to read an article that lies behind a paywall, some publishers offer to read articles free of charge. At least a certain limited number per month before the items 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 prohibited?
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 becomes the central challenge for publishers. Especially for the newcomers in the payment business, who only set the previous editorial service to "please pay now". And without the reader experiencing a surge in quality. But quality creates higher costs for the publisher, so that the margin can be critically reduced.
Should you offer Plus subscriptions as a publisher?
In my view a clear YES! Most publishers that will survive do so 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 subscription contracts -> 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 number of content continuously for years. And who knows, maybe with "digital detox" I will come to the point of no longer wanting to and needing to take in any more information - just to be.
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