We want to offer what should be a seventh reason - ADVERTISERS THINK PAYWALLS ARE STUPID."
We've made thousands of calls on local businesses across North America in the past couple of years, and several times a week the advertiser wants to talk about the local newspaper's paywall.
Just to be clear, we've started asking these clients point blank how they feel about the paywall strategy. Not one is in favor!
What we glean from all the discussion is that even though impression levels are usually guaranteed, the advertiser has an uneasy feeling that a paywall will tend to limit the audience for his advertising.
Generally, newspaper reps tend to backpedal when confronted with this objection, explaining that a lot of content is still free, and that users find ways around the paywall. Which begs the question - Then why are you doing it?
If your paywall is going to stay in place, then you at least need to properly school your sales reps in having the paywall discussion with their advertisers. The reps need to have specific, credible figures on unique users and page views, to bolster the idea that the paywall is not destroying readership.
Tomorrow morning, give your reps this short quiz"
1. How many unique users come to our website in an average month (or last month)?
2. Define "unique user."
3. How many page views do those users generate in an average month (or last month)?
4. Define a "page view."
5. EXTRA CREDIT - What has happened to our website audience numbers since our paywall was put in place? Be specific.
You may find you have some work to do. Let us know if we can help.