Constance Martina is Head of Data and Engagement at 20 Minutes, France’s leading free newspaper. 

Her role is to increase the number of registrations, and percentage of pageviews from logged over anonymous users with 3 goals in mind: 

  • To better understand 20 Minute’s audience 
  • To increase engagement, including time spent on page, frequency of visits, etc 
  • To increase ad revenue - i.e. better monetize each page.

Thanks to implementing a registration wall with Poool, 20 Minutes have had a 99% increase in registrations in just 35 days, supporting both first-party data collection and engagement.

Optimizing 20 Minutes' anonymous-to-known strategy

Although registration has been a part of the publication’s strategy for a while now, account creation was only encouraged through alternative mechanisms outside of the content itself, such as when users tried to use certain UX features (such as saving content for mater), sign up for a newsletter, add a comment or access personalized horoscope readings. They also tested Google Onetap, which allows users to quickly sign up for the publication with their Google credentials without creating a new account.

But the number of accounts created reached a plateau and a new strategy was needed. Thus the move to a registration wall in March 2023. 

The registration wall user flow

To understand 20 Minutes’ choice of registration wall model, Constance shares how there are typically 2 different types of readers on their site: 

  • Reader A: Those who search for a topic and fall on 20 minutes by chance because content is well referenced on Google, or they come via social media, but will read just a single article - “un snacking” as Constance called it 
  • Reader B: a very loyal, engaged audience who comments, comes back often, reads plenty of articles, etc. 

Being aware of these audiences with contrasting behaviors, and the general resistance to blocking content on 20 Minutes, the team wanted to find a balance between increasing their logged user base and leaving enough content open to not frustrate the more volatile readers. 

The solution: a wall that blocks the 5th article read by a user 

  • This won’t frustrate reader A, who has a low propensity to create an account and simply wants to read their one article, but equally who could be encouraged to return in the future if they’re able to read this article
  • But will block reader B who is more engaged and likely to convert
20 Minutes x Poool
20 minutes x Poool

Registration in the comments section

Commenting on content is a well recognized action of highly engaged users, thus the perfect moment to ask for a value exchange. 

Prior to Poool, 20 Minutes asked for registration at the moment when a user tried to add their own comment. However, given the recent partnership between Poool and Viafoura, the online community engagement platform, and tech solution used for 20 Minute’s comment section, the team were keen to test a registration wall on this user generated content. 

To present the wall at the right moment in the comments module, 20 Minutes use Viafoura’s audience segments based on engagement signals: 

  • RFV engagement KPIs: recency, frequency and volume of visits
  • On-site behavior, such as time spent on the comments section, clicks on the “see more comments” button, page views, etc. 
  • Low, medium and high propensity to create an account

With this segmentation, lower propensity users are presented with a soft registration wall (with a “No thank you” button) whilst high propensity users are blocked with a hard wall. 

Initial results on this community module are hugely promising: 

  • Wall Click Through Rate: 5.63% vs. 1.07% (Poool Industry Baseline), meaning 4.6x outperformance 
  • Conversion Rate: 9.13% vs. 2.45% (Poool Industry Baseline), meaning 2.7x outperformance 
  • Registration volumes: 99% increase in community-led registrations

The impact of registration on engagement is also clear: Constance shared that logged users spend 2 times more time on page and have 4 times higher page views. Given that the free publication monetizes each page through advertising, it’s easy to see the importance of a strong registration model. 

Another benefit of integrating registration walls into their content, one that they weren’t expecting, is that those who pass through Poool’s wall over another registered user acquisition channel, are more likely to fill out the optional data fields in the account creation process. These registered users are therefore more valuable to 20 Minutes than others. 

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Continuing to develop in 2024

This year, 20 Minutes will be launching a new mobile app that requires account creation on the first visit, soon adding a dedicated onboarding journey for these readers. 

The team is also developing a new website to add more benefits and value to registration, such as increased personalization.

What’s more, the registration wall will be implemented across more features, such as games and cookie acceptance. 

  • Games are an essential part of the publisher’s engagement strategy, but many of these users aren’t logged, meaning there’s a huge opportunity to collect data and increase ad revenue amongst these users
  • With tightening cookie restrictions, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to collect consent, and given that 20 Minutes only monetizes from publicity, it’s important to help readers understand the impact of declining cookie consent. The team are therefore working with Poool to inform readers and encourage them to accept cookies and create a free account to support the publisher’s business. 

Interested in hearing more about how you can achieve the same? Book a meeting with our Audience Conversion Experts!