This series looks at the paywalls employed by a variety of online content producers. The user journey, the amount of information required from the user, the payment methods offered and the ease of unsubscribing. These are all key to ensuring the success of a paywall, hence why we created this series and are analyzing the conversion funnels of these publishers.

Remember, however, that your most valuable tool to persuading a reader to take out their credit card and subscribe is your value proposition and content.

We'll cover:

Not sure what a paywall is? Want to find out about it's benefits for publishers? Check out this article. Remember, Poool has a paywall platform ready to integrate into your site and convert your readers into subscribers!

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Today: The Athletic!

What's needed if a reader wants to subscribe to The Athletic?

  • 4 clicks are needed to subscribe and return to content
  • no scrolling is needed
  • 4 fields need to be filled out
  • 2 payment methods are available (credit card or Paypal).

So, step by step.

Step 1: The reader wishes to read an article but is stopped by a paywall asking for subscription

A reader on The Athletic is blocked by a paywall if they want to read a premium article. They are shown the beginning of the text but it gradually fades out after a few paragraphs and the paywall blocks access. The paywall is completely visible so that no scrolling is needed to see in its entirety. The website suggests subscribing: “full access, no ads”.

The Athletic Paywall

Step 2: Creation of an account

If the reader wishes to pay by credit card for their subscription, they have to create an account and choose between:

  • Registering with their Google account
  • Or registering with another email address

If the reader chooses Paypal as a payment method, they can subscribe without creating an account. This facilitates the subscription process and Paypal is also a payment method that users trust.

We opted for the credit card option and registered via a Google account. The Athletic don't ask for name or email address as these are saved within our Google account, which makes the user journey much simpler.

The Athletic Subscription Journey

Step 3: Payment

A single subscription offer is available. Here they're showing a special offer of 1$ per month instead of 7.99$, cancellable anytime. The reader is asked to fill in their credit card details. They still have the chance to switch to PayPal if they wish to, a useful addition.

The Athletic Subscription Journey

Step 4: Validation of payment and order confirmation

The payment is validated and the user is redirected back to the article they were reading before subscribing.

An email is then sent to the reader, confirming their subscription.

The Athletic Subscription Journey

The reader can change the language of the website from English to French, for instance. In the French version of The Athletic, even the name of the publication itself is translated: The Athletic becomes Athlétique for French readers. We quite like this little touch.

That’s it, we’ve subscribed to The Athletic and were able to read our article!

To sum it up, here are the steps needed to read the article:

  • 4 clicks are needed to subscribe and return to content
  • no scrolling is needed
  • 4 fields need to be filled out
  • 2 payment methods are available (credit card and Paypal)

What about mobile devices?

The same subscription journey, same number of clicks and same options.

The Athletic on Mobile

Interested in integrating Poool's Paywall into your site? Our Paywall platform allows you to segment audiences, block content differently depending on the user's context, A/B test journeys, analyze and optimize, all within our Dashboard!

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