Alternatives Économiques, a French publisher, has been using Poool's dynamic paywall solution since December 2018, so we thought it was about time that we found out a bit about their experience. We interviewed Frédéric Desiles, strategic and marketing director, to ask about their paywall strategy, tests and results.

Firstly, what is a paywall?

Choosing the best strategy.

When we first started to work with Alternatives Economiques, their goal was clear – increase the acquisition of digital subscribers. To reach this aim, Frédéric and his team weren’t lacking ideas (to say the least) but couldn't decide for certain on which strategy was the best to reach their goal.

They gave themselves two options:

  • Offer 3 free articles per month, allowing users to discover AE's value proposition before requiring a subscription to read more.
  • Offer 1 article in return for the user signing up to their newsletter. After this, the user is asked to subscribe. This option meant that they built up a newsletter audience and collected data for marketing purposes.

Note that before using Poool Access,  Alternatives Economiques website had a ‘static’ paywall, which meant that they couldn't modify or customize it, nor could they use it to carry out A/B tests.  

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Alternatives Économiques Paywall

After A/B testing, they decided to ask readers to sign-up to the newsletter to access content, before requiring that they subscribe. The image above shows their Poool Access Paywall where they have customized the colors, branding and wording to fit with their house style. It cuts a reader off mid article so they have already discovered part of AE's value proposition and can complete an action for free before being asked to pay for content.


The results.

Paywall results were very encouraging. In less than a year, they significantly increased the number of digital subscribers thanks to the newsletter scenario. At the time of this interview, they've reached 15k subscribers! What's more, this demand for email addresses enabled Alternatives Economiques to double the number of users receiving their newsletter from 100k to 200k.

The paywall has therefore made Frédéric more aware of the acquisition cost of a newsletter subscriber as well as probability that this user later converts to a subscriber. It's also now a lot easier for their acquisition strategy to be managed.

Alternatives économiques progress is clearly partly thanks to the paywall, but, importantly, they have created a clear value proposition with high quality content as well as developed a close and genuine relationship with their readers.

So, what do you think about Poool Access?

Of course, we wanted to know what Frédéric thought of our solution. We're always interested to hear from our clients, especially about any improvements that they think we could make so that we can continue to optimize our paywall.

“Poool Access solution allows us to try out different acquisition strategies easily, quickly and regularly and to keep on bettering conversion towards our number one priority: subscription”.

What could we improve on?

“an advanced design editor would be great, and enable us to create and try out different paywall formats for the same target of development of digital subscriptions”.

Well, how convenient that this feature is already set in our roadmap and will be launched before the end of the year!

Thanks Frédéric and well done Alternatives économiques!