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The Subscription Model Is Taking off and Competition Has Never Been Steeper

The post-pandemic user landscape is still ripe for subscription revenue

You can get a subscription for everything these days. Whether it’s a cheese-of-the-month club or annual access to read your favorite content, the subscription-based model has continued to gain steam in recent years. In fact, the market for digital subscriptions is valued at $650 billion according to a new report from Lineup, a subscription management solution.

The power of the subscription model has been growing since even before the COVID-19 crisis began, and isn’t showing any signs of slowing as we enter a post-pandemic landscape. According to What’s New in Publishing, Gannett reported a 46% year-over-year increase in digital subscriptions in November 2021, putting them at 1.5M total subscribers. Hearst grew its digital subscriptions by 50% in 2021.

But subscriptions aren’t just for big name publishers. Users in 2022 are ready to pay up for legacy names and new media companies alike, as long as it’s for an experience that’s beneficial to them, reliable, and free of the clutter that can come from third-party platforms. Speaking of platforms, even TikTok and Instagram have started to gauge their audiences’ temperature on subscription experiences. So, the competition has never been steeper for publishers looking to build a subscriber base. Unfortunately, launching a simple paywall may not be enough.


According to Lineup’s report, “as available options continue to increase, so does demand for flexibility. The media companies that understand their audiences’ needs and craft highly personalized packages will come out ahead of those that take a one-size-fits-all approach to their subscription strategy.”

So how do you create a well-rounded approach to subscriptions when some industries in the subscription market are reporting a 30% customer churn?

Diversify Your Options

Creating a personalized content experience is of course key for a successful subscription model. However, that content has to be supported by the right technology to have a lasting impact. As mentioned before, there isn’t a one-stop solution for generating ROI from subscriptions. That’s why it’s important to diversify your revenue streams to see what works best for your audiences. On RebelMouse, we help you build a subscription experience that's designed for both the modern user who wants an optimized site experience and the modern publisher who relies on paywall revenue to survive.

RebelMouse's subscription features are customizable and easily support:

  • Free Trials: Create one-day, weekly, or monthly subscription plans.
  • Coupon Codes: Use promotional codes to give access to strategic partners and complement B2B deals.
  • B2B Subscriptions: Use email matching to sell access to companies.
  • Testing Powered by Data: We have a sophisticated suite of A/B testing tools — complete with Google Analytics integrations — that give you the ability to test what works, what doesn't, and how to better cater to your readers' needs.

RebelMouse's Paywall API is available to developers to make it easy to manage subscriptions. Access to paid content is managed via subscriptions attached to email qualifiers. Click here for more information on our Paywall API.

Sites powered by RebelMouse are experiencing enormous success thanks to our subscription strategies, including the Italian newspaper La Verità. While publishers on other platforms typically see a decrease in audience when they implement a paywall, in their time leveraging RebelMouse’s paywall strategy, La Verità has experienced continued, unprecedented growth. They are now one of the highest-growth media properties in Italy, and they've enjoyed significant revenue growth thanks to our paywall tools.

La Verit\u00e0's superior site performance using RebelMouse's paywall tools. La Verità's superior site performance using RebelMouse's paywall tools.

Click here to read more about RebelMouse’s subscription model.

Nurture Your Subscribers

Creating resonating content that’s supported by the right subscription technology only gets you half of the way there. Once you’ve made it to this mile marker, it becomes critical to nurture your subscriber base to encourage customer loyalty.

In fact, recent data from Chartbeat found that in Northern Europe, 40% of traffic in the first quarter of 2022 came from what Chartbeat calls “loyal readers.” A loyal reader is someone that returns to your site at least 50% of the days in a two-week period.

If loyalty can account for almost half of your traffic, it’s important to invest in technology that focuses on the full user journey beyond just a subscription signup. From high-performance standards to industry-leading SEO features, RebelMouse has innovative ways to support customer loyalty for your customer base. Click here to learn more.

Create a Modern Subscription Plan on RebelMouse

If you’re looking to start a subscription model for your site, request a proposal today and we’ll help you create a holistic revenue plan that’s centered around personalization and loyalty.

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