Paywalls – Let Your Audience Invest in Your Content

Now that both content analytics and first-party data are at your disposal, it’s time for you to move to monetization. Here, we are not talking about advertising revenues, we are concentrating more on Paywalls or subscriber-based business models.

For digital content publishers, it is an amazing mode of building consumer loyalty and upgrade the quality of service. The emergence of paywalls dates back to 2010 when not only print media was experiencing declining revenue but ad-blocking was also gaining momentum within the consumers. And all of it called for an alternative that resulted in building up Paywalls.


This mechanism works like a wall between contents, especially news, and its readers. Unless one pays for the consumption, it won’t be accessible. Although Paywalls do not always mean there will be monetary exchange. Here’s how!

The Different Types of Paywall

  1. Hard Paywalls

This type of Paywall does not allow readers to access an entire content without subscribing to the publisher. They can put your business in a dicey situation as statistics show around 90% of the consumers bounce back. The leading businesses with this Paywall are The Times and Financial Times. The CEO of Financial Times, John Ridding, has stated that after integrating Hard Paywall into the business model, amongst their 900,000 audience, more than two-thirds have become paid customers, turning advertisements into a secondary revenue-generating source. (

  1. Metered Paywalls

It is way ‘softer’ than Hard Paywalls. Here, your readers can access a specific number of articles before the Paywall appears. The New York Times is one of the leading publishers with this Paywall integrated.

  1. Freemium Paywalls

Publishers like The Guardian use this kind of Paywall where users can access a bunch of free contents, but they can read the premium ones only after subscription. This model is quite popular between report publishers, such as Statista; they publish a summarized version of the report as free, but the entire version will be available only after the reader pays for the same.

  1. Dynamic Paywalls

Unlike the previous three kinds of Paywall, where they act the same despite the different consumer behavior, Dynamic Paywalls work upon data. With the help of machine learning technology, they gather real-time data based on user behavior with questions like “Which readers are most likely to convert to subscribers? Which readers should receive which kind of subscription offer? And when should readers receive an offer?” ( This personalized approach allows publishers to treat every consumer as a separate entity and target the ones who are most likely to subscribe. This flexibility brings unanimous popularity to this model. The New York Magazine is one of the successful examples of this model.

  1. Adblock Walls

This is where the publisher does not seek money. According to research 10-40% of consumers use Ad-block to consume content. With this Paywall, publishers target those audiences, convincing them to remove the Ad-block from a certain website and continue generating revenue from advertisements. (

The Benefits of Paywalls

  1. Digital Subscription

With the covid-19 pandemic, we have all understood the importance of digital platforms. When everything else, starting from newsstands, advertising to events failed, it is the subscription-based revenue that helped publishers survive. No matter what, the digital subscriptions will keep paying off.

  1. Consumer Loyalty

Paywalls, in a way, give you the message of building an intimate relationship with your audience because they are allowing you access to their accounts. And once you know its worth, it will drive in revenues, audience insights, and the foundation of launching several new products.

  1. Brand Success

Reader-driven revenues will bring your brand more trust and loyalty, which, in turn, will make you popular in the industry. And in no time, you will see sponsors and advertisers lining up for you, doubling your revenue.

Challenges of Paywalls

  1. Content Balance

While picking a Paywall, you need to be sure of your business objective. No matter what model you choose, there is an absolute need of balancing the amount of content you want to show your consumers for free; too much or too little can blow things up. And when it comes to Dynamic Paywalls, you are required to consider the upfront investment before bringing in the ROI.

  1. Sales Pitch

Before putting the Paywall in front of your consumers, it is essential to selling your content with the right pitch. Your readers must be aware of the value of the contents so that they know what they are missing on.

  1. Customer Retention

While inviting more and more leads might not seem to be a very big deal, the tough part begins with retention. You should keep providing the same value to your consumers as you did when they first subscribed, then and only then, they will stay loyal to you.

Top Paywall Providers

  1. PianoKnow what your audience wants, engage more and more consumers, and boost your business.
  2. EvolokCreate a seamless subscription experience for your readers and grow revenues.

According to research conducted by The American Press Institute, 53% of Americans pay to consume news and articles, both for digital and print platforms. ( So, you can understand how important a role Paywalls play.

But before considering which Paywall model to choose, you should clearly understand your own business. Although Hard Paywalls seem to be the roughest, if you are a specific niche-oriented publisher, then it would work like wonder for you. No matter what, you should always focus on offering high-quality content to your readers which are worth paying for. Build a great product and reader revenue will come flowing to you!

And with this understanding of Paywalls, it’s time for you to explore Affiliate eCommerce in my next article

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