the content monetization system – WAU

The digital market creates opportunities every day and has been able to solve challenges considered insurmountable. A good example is the music market, in which the ease of downloading any track or album for free made people stop paying for physical media. Over time, apps like Spotify and […]

The digital market creates opportunities every day and has been able to solve challenges considered insurmountable.

A good example is the music market, in which the ease of downloading any track or album for free made people stop paying for physical media. Over time, apps like Spotify and Rdio emerged, regaining the strength of an industry that was already thought to be dead.

Another good example, this more recent one, is from journalism. With the dynamism of the Internet, the printed media started to decay.

But how can companies make money in an environment where almost all the information generated is free? Because the answer lies in a concept that you need to know: the paywall.

Therefore, we prepared this article, in addition to understanding how this monetization model works, you will see how to apply it in your business, no matter what segment it is. Check out!

What is paywall?

The term paywall is English and can be translated as “payment wall”. Its about a restriction where website visitors who want to access your content must pay for it.

In general, the paywall works as a subscription model, that is, the user pays a fixed monthly fee to access the content, in whole or in part.

There are several ways to apply the paywall, and many large companies have already used this solution to increase revenue and dispel the myth that paying for content on the Internet is not acceptable.

Among them, we can mention:

  • The New York Times;
  • The Economist;
  • The Guardian;
  • The globe;
  • Medium;
  • Newspaper;
  • Estadão;
  • Exam.

You can tell by the number of high-caliber vehicles on that list that the paywall proved to be a attractive and sustainable model for companies that generate revenue from content.

How does the paywall work?

The idea of ​​the paywall is quite simple, but its implementation requires knowledge in website development.

There are two types of wall, rigid and porous, and each one will need to implement some changes in relation to a common site. But how does each of them work and what is the difference between the two? See below!


The rigid paywall model is one in which all published content is blocked, and visitors must log in to access any piece of material.

In such cases, only the title and statement of the content can be seen by the visitors, only with the aim of generating desire and curiosity. But not a fraction of the material is provided for free.


The porous model, most used by companies, proposes a smoother transition from the casual reader, used to access everything for free, to the paying customer.

What you normally do is offer a limited amount of free content per month to visitors. After that, he can only access the content with a subscription.

In this case, it is necessary to install a script that identifies how many times the same person accesses the site and bar access when he reaches the limit.

The main change in the implementation of the paywall is the creation of a user area.

This area also needs to be prepared to deal with monthly fees and plan changes, if there is more than one option.

For what kind of website is paywall a good idea?

The paywall has gained popularity in major news portals, but those who think that only they can benefit from the practice are mistaken.

Examples such as Medium, one of the largest content platforms in the world, show that it is not only in the journalism industry that this monetization model fits.

It is possible to apply the paywall creatively and even ask for a different payment, which does not involve money. As well?

Backlinko, one of the biggest SEO blogs today, created a different kind of paywall: some articles are reserved for subscribers. That is, the only payment the reader needs to make is to give his email.

Think about the value of this for a lead generation strategy, and you may see the paywall differently.

Therefore, any website can use a payment wall. Just adapt the concept according to the type of content you offer and your strategy.

lead generation kit

4 reasons to invest in a paywall for your digital strategy

We have already seen how popular the paywall has become and how it can be used on various types of websites – not just news portals.

But the fact that you can apply it doesn’t mean you should do it. So, is it a good idea to put a payment wall on your website?

See below 4 reasons to invest in this concept and innovate in your segment.

1. Increase in digital signatures

The New York Times, one of the pioneers of the paywall, has recorded impressive growth numbers since the adoption of the paywall in 2011.

There are already more than 2.5 million paying subscribers, and the rate of growth of subscriptions is 19% year after year.

In London the same happens. At Estadão, for example, the number of digital subscriptions already corresponds to 30% of the newspaper’s total.

2. Revenue generation

In figures, the NY Times case represented a value of $ 400 million in 2018 with digital newspaper subscriptions alone.

Not to mention other digital products of the brand, such as the recipe and crossword apps and the revenues from online advertising on the site, which totaled around 200 million dollars in the last year.

In other words, the paywall has proven to be very profitable, and can be replicated in several ways to monetize your website or blog.

3. Authority building

Content that people pay for immediately gains an air of exclusivity, a greater importance.

This makes readers give more value to what is presented to them, and that the producers of the material are recognized as.

After all, no one wants to pay for content that comes from anybody, but people are happy to pay to be part of a select group that receives expert advice.

Applying the paywall in your company can also facilitate the building of authority with your audience.

4. Brand enhancement

We are in the era of digital transformation, and all eyes are on the brands that make big moves towards the future.

Investing in a paywall goes beyond charging for content. Means a greater commitment to treating digital as a leading channel in the company’s strategy.

And when applied correctly, this action has the power to strengthen the brand with customers and distance it from more traditional competitors.

3 marketing lessons that the paywall brings (even if you don’t use it)

Even if you decide not to use the paywall at the moment, there are important lessons to be learned from this concept that can serve as a basis for other important decisions in your Marketing strategy.

See 4 of these lessons and think about what else you could take advantage of by thinking about this innovative initiative in the digital market.

1. Paradigms must be broken

The idea that everything on the Internet should be free has been around for a long time. It is a difficult paradigm to break.

But with the right initiative, many companies have found a way to innovate and find a model that will allow them to thrive in the digital age without angering customers.

The lesson is clear: paradigms exist, but they can be broken with the right solution.

2. There are different ways to increase revenue

The NY Times is the biggest example of how it is possible to diversify revenues by investing in digital.

In addition to maintaining revenue from online advertising, the newspaper managed to create a cash machine with subscriptions and other digital products.

The lesson? Challenge what appears to be your primary source of revenue, especially if it has nothing to do with the Internet.

3. Content that creates value always sells

Last, but perhaps most important: people generally don’t like to pay for something that doesn’t generate any value for them, and they certainly don’t do it month after month.

This is proof that quality content has the power to generate sales consistently for a long time.

It doesn’t matter if your product or service is physical or digital, investing in Content Marketing can make all the difference.

The paywall is a relatively new concept, but it is revolutionizing content consumption in an era when this important asset has become commonplace for many.

Whether you follow this trend or not, one thing is for sure: valuable content has a lot of power to generate revenue.

Wondering how good content can help your company sell more? See how a single blog post brought 2 million reais to WAU in less than 3 years.