Marketing Advantages from Paywalls
Was the Times right to put its content behind a paywall and what advantages have marketers seen as a result of the move?
Paywalls ‘not necessarily bad for marketers’
Marketers may find a number of advantages from getting involved with websites that have content behind paywalls, it has been suggested. David Davis, managing director of RedFly Marketing, highlighted that advertisers could in fact have the upper hand, particularly as they are given the opportunity to better target their ads.
For example, Mr Davis pointed out that publishers with paywalls are likely to have much more in-depth information on their user base than those without. This sort of data will prove valuable for marketers, as they can use the demographic information to make their campaigns tailored to audiences.
He continued: “Publishers may be able to command a higher rate for certain segments of their inventory offsetting the loss in advertising. Advertisers can spend the surplus – if there is any – advertising budget elsewhere or on the more expensive, more targeted traffic that the publisher now has.”
There are, however, some pitfalls to expecting people to pay for content. Mr Davis explained that some of the content will be freely available to consumers elsewhere, which may remove traffic from the site. Unless the content has been originally researched – or is an exclusive – the expert suggested that there may be some difficulties in encouraging people to pay to read it.
Since the introduction of The Times’s paywall, the newspaper’s website has lost 42 per cent of its online audience, compared to an average decline of 0.8 per cent, figures from comScore show. Furthermore, its total page views were down 68.6 per cent, while the time spent on the website by the average visitor declined by 48.6 per cent.
As a whole, UK newspaper websites saw an average decline of 4.5 per cent in visitor numbers, while the average time spent by visitors increased 0.8 per cent, comScore found.
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Monday, August 23 2010 by John Burns
Digital Marketing Consultant
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