Paywall icon

Converting readers to subscribers with metered paywalling

Paywalls triggered by events including number of articles read, supported by visitor data and analysis, with versatile paths to subscription
A metered paywall system encourages readers to consume free articles or to browse the free section of the site. When a visitor has read their complement of free pieces, or at another predefined trigger event, the system can impose content restrictions, make offers, encourage signups with targeted CTAs, and more. The tool integrates with most popular authentication providers and is supported by user data analytics services.

Key facts

  • Lightweight website plugin loads fast and does not affect website behavior
  • Maximises flexibility, enabling multiple paths to conversion
  • Large and ever-growing range of integrations with other CRO tools
  • White label and brandable
  • Integrates with data analytics tools to provide personalized paywalling/conversion support
  • Minimizes configuration complexity — powerful and adaptable, but easy to set up
  • Scalable and well-equipped for high traffic
  • Controllable and configurable via an administrator site, allowing customer-defined custom flows to cover any possible communication logic
  • GDPR- and CCPA-compliant, with OAuth 2.0 admin site authorization, client-side encryption, and server-side SSL encryption
  • Ad-blocker and incognito mode detection
  • Resistant to browser cache reset

Business challenge

Seeking a business model based on subscriptions means moving away from free access to content, with revenue drawn primarily from advertising.

As publishers do this they must find ways to encourage conversions while still using their content to market their publication to casual visitors. In the digital publishing space, it’s vital to remain able to use some content as marketing to encourage visitors, TOFU metrics like social media engagement, and to encourage regular content consumption. Metered paywalls are an effective way to do this, but they must be configured to match the business, its systems and its customer base. One-size-fits-all paywalling tools are clumsy and ineffective.

Creating a tool that achieves targeting and personalization at scale involves finding ways to reduce traffic loads and preserve privacy and security, as well as ensuring both sufficient flexibility to permit multiple paths to conversion and sufficient simplicity of implementation, operation and configuration to permit customers to use it freely. In addition, it must be integrated with the whole marketing and conversion optimization stack and with the company’s CDP or equivalent organization-wide source of truth, able to draw data from these sources as well as transmit it.

Key technical challenges include:

  • Adjustment to client site design features
  • Integrations with client stack
  • Security and protection against hacking
  • Ad-blocking and tracker-blocking technology
  • Trade-off between flexibility and configuration complexity
  • Traffic management and server load
  • Optimization and scaling mechanisms

Key features of the system

Configure and administer content access icon
Configure and administer content access
Manage access to content for readers, building funnels that generate increased reader interest and lead to conversions
Optimize profit growth icon
Optimize profit growth
Drive revenue and profit growth, motivating readers to buy content by analysing their behavior patterns and matching them to the right content at the right time.
Customizable and brandable icon
Customizable and brandable
The tool can be managed and customized from any part of the world, with flexible, admin-friendly settings and options for user segment data.
Integration with subscription management icon
Integration with subscription management
The tool integrates with a subscription management system that allows employees to manage and control subscriptions, and provides enhanced user data analytics.
Reporting and analytics icon
Reporting and analytics
Tracking and analysing user behavior, the system generates enhanced data analytics and presents comprehensive multimetric reports to assist in data-driven decision-making.
Supporting inbound sales icon
Supporting inbound sales
The tool serves as a kind of lightweight CRM for inbound sales, letting reps monitor user data and manage subscriptions, and see data on custom dashboards.

Lightpoint built the system with:

1 full-stack developer, 2 UI developers, 1 UI/UX designer, 1 manual QA, 1 Automation QA, 1 team lead (full stack developer)
Our continued involvement with optimizing the system means we continue to allocate team hours to the product

Here’s how we solved technical challenges:

1
Written in TypeScript
The module is written in TypeScript. A customization process takes place within the intuitive web interface (admin-web platform) written in ASP.NET. Data is stored in MS SQL.
2
Versatile API
The tool interacts with other software using REST API (C #) and is hosted in AZURE.
3
Caching and data organization facilitates traffic tolerance
The solution is scalable and withstands huge traffic, using Azure Cloud horizontal scaling features together with optimization of work with data and several layers of caching including CDN, browser cache and Redis cache on the server.
4
Client-side data processing
Work is accelerated and traffic reduced by having the main calculations take place on the client side, in each user’s browser. Only a small amount of information comes to the server, to improve recoverability if it is lost by the client; this amounts to about 600GB per month.

Tech stack:

Paywall admin site:

VB.NET, C #, Bootstrap, MSSQL

Paywall plugin:

TypeScript, FlexBox

Paywall API:

REST API C # .NET 4.6, Dapper

Other:

Azure (Tables, Blob storage, Proxy, Functions, MSSQL)

Results

The client said:
Lightpoint expanded technological capabilities that improved internal flexibility and administrative capacities. The team’s efforts enhanced workflow and client engagement by increasing the speed of product delivery. Their effective project management makes them a valuable long-term partner.

There are over 15 companies using the solution now, and together their traffic amounts to over 20 million individual users per month. They and their readers are served by a paywalling tool that’s adaptable and flexible, giving them the ability to offer their readers many different ways to become subscribers. Integrations with customer data tools mean the system can be used to personalize subscription offers, driving revenue and profitability.

Ready to talk about a similar solution for your business?

Get in touch with us at:
Full name
Email
Phone
Description