Blog September 11, 2023 |

Driving Revenue through Precision: Your Guide to Content Metering Using BlueConic

In the ever-evolving world of digital publishing, one strategy has proven to be a game-changer for publishers – content metering. This approach has been embraced by publishers both large and small to drive digital subscription growth. In this blog post, we’ll explore ways you can use content meters to supercharge your own digital subscription strategy.

For more in-depth information on using content meters to drive your business forward, including how you can get started, download our complete guide now.

The Evolution of Digital Subscriptions

Digital subscriptions date back as far as 1998, when The Wall Street Journal first started charging for digital access. But it wasn’t until 2011 when The New York Times introduced one of the first content meters. Initially, they gave readers 20 free articles per month, but quickly realized this was a bit too generous. Most publishers with a meter model now grant 5-10 free views per month.

So, why the shift from high numbers of free views to the more modest allowances we see today?

Until recently, most publishers lacked data to support the idea that readers would even pay for digital access, much less how much. Since ad revenue generated by impressions and clicks is the lifeblood of many publishers, they didn’t want to negatively impact that part of the business.

This balance remains a concern for many publishers today. Those who have a digital subscription model need to find the ‘sweet spot’ where they grant enough free views to engage readers while building a relationship so that they’re willing to pay.

Reports & Guides A Publisher's Guide to Effective Content Metering Learn More

The Importance of a Single Customer View

Before diving into content metering  strategies, it’s important to understand why a customer data platform (CDP) like BlueConic should be a central component in any content metering solution. By collecting, consolidating, and unifying first-party data from various sources into a single customer view (a.k.a. a unified profile), a CDP enables you to understand your audience based on their interests, preferences, and behaviors – information that is crucial for creating personalized content offering and metering strategies that resonate with different audience segments. And since unified profiles update in real time as user behaviors change, you can make timely adjustments to your content meter strategies to optimize engagement and revenue.

Implementing Effective Content Meters: Strategies for Success

1. Build a Cross-Functional Team

Launching a content meter doesn’t have to be daunting if you have the right team in place. Our most successful customers build a cross-functional team that includes members from the digital subscriptions, product, analytics, and core CDP teams. Their input will help inform everything from strategy and data requirements, to how well the content meter is performing.

2. Define Your Use Case

With your team assembled, conduct a use case discovery session to align on the objectives of your content meter strategy, the work to be done (and who will do it), and the key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll use to measure the success of your content metering. Key considerations include your subscription model, target audience, subscriptions database, offers testing, metering experience, and desired outcomes.

3. Choose the Right Content Metering Approach

There are a variety of content metering strategies that our customers employ, ranging from soft paywalls and metered paywalls, to hard paywalls, dynamic paywalls, and more (download our full guide to learn more about each type). The strategy you choose will depend upon your use cases and business needs. Even if you don’t have a digital subscription model, content metering or soft paywalls can be an effective strategy to take visitors from unknown to known and grow your email subscriber base.

Driving Growth with BlueConic

At BlueConic, our platform capabilities put us in a unique position to support content metering strategies:

  • Using our first-party cookies, BlueConic can recognize anonymous visitors and track their behavior over time (i.e., how many articles have they read in the last 30 days? How many times have they viewed the paywall in the last week?).

  • BlueConic’s listener capabilities can recognize paying subscribers and exclude them from paywalls. 

  • Our dialogue’s robust A/B testing capabilities give the marketer the power and flexibility to test and optimize subscription growth. 

  • Integrations with subscription databases, CRMs, ESPs, and reporting tools centralize the user’s information in a single place and enable marketers to respond quickly to changes in their strategy. 

We also recognize that true customer success goes beyond a great platform; it lies in the symbiotic relationship between the capabilities of the CDP and the expertise, partnership, and empathy (EPE) provided by the BlueConic team. Our expert customer success managers (CSMs) are here to help your team with both strategic CDP guidance and technical implementation of content meters.

Are you ready to take your digital subscription strategy to the next level? Download our comprehensive guide to unlock the full potential of content metering. Your subscribers are waiting, and we're here to help you succeed.