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.
So let’s start.
Ornikar is a French, online driving school. Their content makes it faster, cheaper and easier for you to earn your driving theory and ‘on the road’ licence.
- The user journey to register
- Ornikar’s value proposition
- Why Ornikar uses a registration wall
The user journey to register
- 3 clicks are needed to register and return to content
- 1 scroll is needed to see the registration form in its entirety, except on mobile where two scrolls are necessary
- 7 fields are required to create an account
So, step by step.
STEP 1 - The user arrives on the website
Someone who wants to get their driving licence arrives on the Ornikar website and decides they want to access the content.
(This is a translated version of the Ornikar landing page)
On the landing page, the user must decide which licence they want to acquire:
- Driving theory licence / highway code licence
- Driving licence
In this case, we’re interested in the driving theory licence because our analysis is based on online content.
STEP 2 - Registration to gain access to the content
The user is then taken to a page specifically for this type of licence, outlining the overall cost of obtaining it. However, below is a button saying ‘create an account for free’.
Note that, on every page, there’s the option to ‘log in’ for any users who already have an account.
Step 3 - Creating an account
After clicking on ‘create an account for free’, the user isn’t taken to a different page but a simple side banner is presented with the registration form.
We’re required to scroll once to see the whole form, but it’s a smooth action because the main page remains the same as the form moves.
To access Ornikar’s content, the user must provide 7 pieces of information:
- Date of Birth
- Zip code
- Phone number
- Email address
This information will help the company to better understand who their users are and why they’re on the site.
As Ornikar’s end goal is to encourage a user to pay to subscribe (as we’ll see in a minute), so asking a user to register and collecting first-party data is hugely valuable in their subscription strategy. The data can help them understand how users act before subscribing, why someone might be less inclined to subscribe, what incentives different people need, etc. They could also segment their audience based on this data and present a different user subscription journey for each grouping.
A registration wall also brings a user one step closer to subscription, allowing them to discover the value proposition and content for free all the while Ornikar collects data to more easily encourage them to subscribe in the future. For example, Ornikar now has the users email address, so can send promotions and subscription offers by mail.
The New York Times also uses this strategy, employing a regwall as a step towards subscription. Find out more about the NYT registration wall in this article.
STEP 4 - Presenting subscription offers
The user now has another choice. They can continue to access the free version as a registered user or pay to subscribe and receive unlimited access. Ornikar have clearly divided their content into free and premium, with free being solely for registered users (behind a regwall) and premium being behind a paywall, requiring a payment to view.
Note how they have already filled out my name (which I provided in the registration form) making payment even easier.
If you’re interested in paywalls and subscription journeys, we have another series of articles ‘From content, to subscription to content’ which you might find useful.
STEP 5 - The user decides not to pay for subscription
There’s a little button in the right hand corner that gives a user the option to refuse payment and simply use the free version. By clicking on this, the user is taken to this page and can now try a series for free.
STEP 6 - The user has access to a free series
The user is automatically redirected to the content that they wanted to try.
Now the reader has access to content for free.
Note that this is only the free version. The user is constantly encouraged to subscribe and is limited in progressing through content if they don’t pay the subscription. The registration wall therefore plays a role in collecting first-party data as well as helping to lead a user towards subscription and allowing them to discover Ornikar’s value proposition.
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.
Ornikar’s value proposition is really clear and explicit when we register.
- A user can have access to free series to practice for the highway code test
- This also allows them to try out the platform and discover content before paying to subscribe
Why does Ornikar 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 first-party data
- Gather possible leads to sell subscription offers via email if a user doesn’t subscribe on their first visit
- Learn about their audience and gain a better understanding of their behavior on the Ornikar site
- Create a personalized user experience thanks to the user being required to login on every visit. This way, Ornikar can save their progress, allow the user to personalize their account and maybe set reminders to revise
- Bring the user closer to subscription
What about mobile ?
It’s exactly the same on the website and on mobile, the only difference is the fact that we must scroll further down the page in order to see the whole registration form, but this is expected given the smaller screen.