Direct Traffic

How Does Your Conversion Rate Compare to Other Publishers?

For publishers with metered paywalls, a Meter Stop Rate of 5% to 7% is the goal. How does your website’s conversion rate stack up?

Publishers who generate revenue through online subscriptions should keep a close eye on their conversion rate. With the metered paywall model, readers are allowed to access a certain number of articles each month before they’re blocked from viewing any more content. That’s when the paywall goes up.

With the metered paywall model, publishers have the ability to charge readers for access and also generate revenue through display advertising at the same time. That’s not always possible with the hard paywall model, where visitors are prevented from accessing any content until they have signed up for a paid subscription. With that model, publishers aren’t usually seeing enough traffic on their article pages to generate significant revenue through display advertising. This is one of the reasons why the metered paywall model tends to be more popular among digital news publishers than the hard paywall model.

(You can read more about the pros and cons of both metered paywalls and hard paywalls, here.)

If you are one of the thousands of local news publishers who currently uses the metered paywall model, then you will want to keep a close eye on your conversion rate. The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who come to a website and decide to purchase a subscription. To calculate your conversion rate, just divide the number of people who purchased a subscription by the number of people who visited your website over the same period.

According to benchmarking data from the Local Media Association (LMA), publishers who are tracking their Paid Stop Conversion Rate (PSCR) should be looking at .5% as a goal. The Paid Stop Conversion Rate measures the effectiveness of a paywall. If you have ever wondered what percentage of people actually subscribed after hitting a paywall on your website, this is how you’ll find your answer.

Another metric that online publishers will want to keep a close eye on is the Meter Stop Rate. The Meter Stop Rate measures engagement with a paywall when a certain amount of free content sampling is allowed. Publishers with metered paywalls will want to keep an eye on their Meter Stop Rate. According to the LMA, the goal here should be 5% to 7%. Any publisher with a Meter Stop Rate above 7% is beating industry benchmarks.

Some people see the Meter Stop Rate as a measure of paywall “tightness.” This can be a fine line for publishers. When you have a metered paywall, you want people to sample your content. The hope is that readers will understand the value of the content they’re being allowed to sample, and that it will spur them to sign up for a paid subscription. However, there is a lot of gray area when deciding how much content to give away for free. Although the industry standard seems to be for publishers to give visitors access to 10 articles per month for free, there is a lot of variability from publication to publication.

Savvy publishers are moving towards a hybrid approach, combining the best of editorial and algorithmic decision making. A publisher who sees that certain types of content drive stronger engagement may be inclined to keep those articles outside the paywall as a way to bring more readers into the fold. In a best case scenario, readers hit a paywall at the precise moment when they are most likely to convert, such as after they have read a particularly informative or entertaining article.

If growing your base of digital subscribers is important, then the Meter Stop Rate is something you’ll want to track. You’ll also want to track your Paid Stop Conversion Rate, since that measures how effective your publication is at converting users who’ve hit your paywall.

The Paid Stop Conversion Rate is considered a “critical indicator” of conversion effectiveness. It can be affected by variables like subscription offers, checkout flows, and payment processing experiences. You never want to see visitors exiting the conversion funnel during the checkout process. Issues with payment processing or checkout flows are easy to take care of, but only if you know the problem exists.

We know that publishers who make data-driven decisions when structuring their subscription programs are more likely to achieve profitability. If you would like to learn more about how to track your own conversion rate, then reach out to our team here at Web Publisher PRO. Our goal-oriented strategies are designed to take publications to the next level by coupling proven business techniques with complete website management.