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A/B Testing your Paywall: Benchmark Examples

A/B testing is the number 1 strategy to optimize your paywall click-through and conversion rates, allowing you to discover what performs best for your unique audience, content and business model.

Given its value, our consultancy team is here to share benchmark examples and insights from some of the A/B tests carried out by Poool clients.

However, it’s important to remember that every publisher is different, meaning test variables and results may not be the same for your strategy. Having said that, it’s useful to consider what others in the industry are testing to take inspiration for your own tests!

In this article:

  • France Antilles — value proposition
  • Le Journal du Dimanche — color
  • Bio à la Une — CTA button text
  • ELLE — paywall format
  • Neos Kosmos — wording and visual
  • Quotidien & Tageblatt — altered wording for a national event
  • Le Petit Journal — value proposition length

Quickly, what is A/B testing?

A/B testing, or split testing, is a marketing technique that works by comparing the performance of two versions of a single variable (such as scenarios, wall layout, colors, copy) to discover which leads to the highest conversion rates. The variant being tested is called the ‘control’ whilst the variant that is argued to give a better result is called the ‘treatment’.

France Antilles

Hypothesis to test: Does the length of the value proposition and text on a paywall influence CTRs?

Variable: Wording (value proposition length)

Goal: Increase click-through rates across all audience segments

Control (version A): Detailed value proposition detailing the key benefits of subscribing in 5 bullet points. The wall also had two CTA buttons, one for the average individual reader (‘Try our digital offer at 1 euro for 30 days’), the other for group subscription offers (‘Request a personalized offer’).

Treatment (version B): Here we have a simple single sentence value proposition aiming to create a community around shared cultural values with just one CTA button (‘Continue reading’) which moves the focus away from payment.

Result: Version B, the wall with a shorter but more personalized value proposition, performed 5x better on average than version A, and this was the case across all audience segments and websites (the publisher has 3 in total).

💡 Top tip: we wouldn’t recommend modifying multiple aspects of the wall in one go (e.g. the CTA button text and value proposition text) as this takes the focus away from analyzing and optimizing a single feature in one go.

Le Journal du Dimanche

Hypothesis to test: Does the color of the JDD Newsletter Wall influence CTRs on mobile devices?

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