Traditional publishers who are reliant on subscription revenue and advertisements, may not have the capability or desire to transition to a business model driven by third-party social-media platforms. Publishers who neither can, nor want to, transform themselves into Buzzfeed, may choose to pursue a transitional model for their digital strategy while simultaneously protecting their existing revenue streams; be it digital ads or selling subscriptions.

The flexibility of the metered paywall empowers publishers to respond to changes in audience demand and to monetize each reader based on individual behaviors. Using a metered paywall, publishers can build reader engagement programs by creating and testing various payment or exchange models.

Loyalty at every step: How to use a metered paywall to build community engagement

For publishers of online content; how much and how often readers interact with your articles—measured in likes, shares, comments and follows—means that the audience for your content is also the distributor and promoter of your content. In other words, your consumer is now a member of your labor force. And like most organizations, success requires employees who are engaged.

When building audience engagement, publishers should focus on interpreting user-intent and think about creating experiences that are interesting, likeable or useful to their readers. To influence participation, and ultimately the purchasing decision of digital audiences, messaging needs to provide meaningful opportunities for users to get involved in the community.

Using a metered paywall to cultivate audience engagement requires the publisher to associate messages with a corresponding meter height. In doing this, publishers must clearly identify and communicate the micro-conversion-experiences that influence the intended macro-conversion. For instance, if the goal is to build an audience, measured by subscriptions, the questions to ask, are:

  1. How will readers become better or happier people by subscribing to your publication?
  2. What questions or needs are readers trying to fulfill by interacting with your content?
  3. What depth of community access do readers receive with each micro-conversion?


Creating great user experiences in addition to creating great content is the goal for publishers in the digital age. The metered paywall is the ideal tool to support this effort by giving publishers a faster way to adjust to the changes in online content consumption and the flexibility to individually target audience intent. Publishers, using a metered paywall, can now leverage the same tactics as social-platforms to increase audience engagement and build community around their content.