Given the value of 1st party data, it’s becoming increasingly popular for publishers to ask users to register on their website. A registration wall does just this, blocking access to content and requiring registration before continuing.
Once a reader has created an account, their behavior can be analyzed across devices, providing important and actionable insights to the content producer. What’s more, registration brings a user one step closer to subscribing, so it can also play a huge role in a paywall subscription strategy. For readers, having an account on a site means more personalization, ultimately improving their user experience as a whole, and so encouraging them to subscribe.
This is why we’re back with a new article series! Our first one covered the user journey to subscription (including The Washington Post, Netflix and Audible) whilst this one will analyze the journey of an anonymous reader into a registered user. We aim to see what motivates readers to become members and how the different publishers employ a regwall.
By now we hope you’re aware that the most important aspect to turn readers into members, and even subscribers, is your value proposition and content. This is what our series is all about, understanding the number of clicks, scrolls, amount of information and time taken for a reader to create an account, but also to understand the value proposition and why the publisher wants users to do this action.
Remember, any online content-producer can employ a registration wall, including editorial publishers, broadcasters, e-learning platforms and more. To highlight this fact, our ‘From content to registration to content’ series includes a wide range of different publishers.
- The New York Times
- Journal du Net
- Harvard Business Review
- MY TF1
- Open Classrooms
To find out more about registration walls, see our blog post on 'What is a Registration Wall?'. You might also like our other article series on the subscription conversion funnel, with a white paper to summarize our findings, available here.
Today: Le Journal du Net!
- The user journey to register
- Journal du Net’s value proposition
- Why Journal du Net uses a registration wall
The user journey to register
- 3 clicks are needed to register and return to content
- No scrolling is required to see the registration form in full, except on mobile where one scroll down shows the rest of the form
- 9 fields need to be filled out to create an account
So, step by step.
Step 1: The reader arrives on the website
The reader arrives on the JDN homepage and wishes to read an article.
Step 2: The reader wants to read an article but is blocked by a Registration Wall
After arriving on the Journal du Net website, the reader clicks on the article that they wish to read but is blocked by a registration wall. This wall cuts the content and gives two options:
- Register and gain access to the article
- Not create an account meaning they won’t be able to access the content
*The translation here, by google, says ‘subscribe’ but the original wall (in French) asks a user to create an account.
Note that not all articles are blocked on the JDN site, only some. However, independent of the type of article read, after accessing several articles in a row, the user is automatically blocked by a regwall.
Step 3 - Register to access content
The reader clicks on the button ‘read for free by registering’, which shows that they’re interested in accessing the article.
Clicking on the red button takes the user to a form to complete the registration process.
All of this information helps the publisher to understand the reader better, customize content according to their profile, use targeted advertising (increased revenue) and build a strong first-party data base. Clearly, this is beneficial for business!
However, there is a line (that we don’t recommend crossing) between asking for too little information and asking too much. Too little and you miss out on the benefits detailed above, too much and you risk turning a user away. To learn more about registration wall best practices, take a look at our dedicated article: ‘What is a Registration Wall? Definition, Examples and Best Practices.’
Step 4 - Return to the article
When the reader has finished the form, they are automatically redirected back to the content he wanted to read. This is a really great aspect of JDN’s regwall because not all publishers that we’ve studied do this. The article is the reason why they registered in the first place, so we recommend taking them back here after. This is something we learnt in our subscription article series, a summary of which can be found here.
JDN also sends an email confirming registration and asking for the user to activate their account.
(Translated as: account created on JDN. Congratulations Madeleine White, your JDN account has been created. To activate your account, click on the link below. Active my account.)
When logged in, a user can access their account in the top right hand corner to alter their details and configure settings.
It’s very important to analyze the publisher’s value proposition too, as it shows what a registered user is or isn’t entitled to.
In this case, the value proposition is really clear and explicit when we register.
- When the reader creates their free account, they have unlimited access to content on Journal du Net site, from the oldest to most recent articles
- Readers have the possibility to personalize their account, for example by setting alerts for certain article releases
- A reader can also publish articles on the JDN newspaper, exchange with other readers and give their opinion
Why does Journal du Net use a register wall?
There isn’t just one answer here and we can only assume, but we imagine that integrating a regwall meets several goals simultaneously.
- Collect data for better targeting
- Understand their audience
- Create a membership base to optimize possible future revenue models
- Solve any issues with bypassing paywalls
- Create more personalized experiences
- Have a closer relationship with readers
- Drive revenue in other forms.