» Obviously, reports of the end of the web have been greatly exaggerated.
Roughly two-thirds of Bloomberg digital subscribers now convert from web site visits, 25% from its app. Only 8% convert from Apple News, which does not, at least initially, seem very significant.
Bloomberg, which launched its paywall in May 2018, wouldn’t share exact subscription figures, but said that subscribers currently number in the “tens of thousands.” By the end of 2018, it had signed up three times as many subscribers than expected, and plans to double that by the end of 2019. The progress to date has been the result of frequent paywall iterations including tweaking the number of free-access articles, to pricing strategy, color and placement of offers.
Bloomberg has a dynamic paywall based on 22 criteria, including factors like how long readers spend on site, traffic referral source and return visits, which determine when a reader is most likely to convert to a subscriber. A sweet spot for how many articles it takes before a new visitor converts is three a month, said Scott Havens, global head of digital and media distribution at Bloomberg Media. Although the publisher did launch with a fixed 10-article meter, it shortly started testing different paywall heights based on reader data. Over the years, publishers have tended to tighten paywalls to keep growing: In 2012, the average meter limit was 13 articles a month. Now, as a way to keep driving growth, the average is five, according to a Shorenstein Center and Lenfest Institute study.