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Multi-Dimensional Metering: Making Metered Paywalls Smarter

Paywall service providers offer metered paywalls as a profitable alternative to traditional ad revenue models.

However, a multi-dimensional metered approach offers publishers more opportunities for relationship building, with higher conversion rates and stronger consumer loyalty.

Sustainable revenues are increasingly important to publishers squeezed by privacy regulation, adblockers, dropping CPM rates and challenges to targeting.

A paywall and subscription management platform that combines paywall software, engagement automation, and machine learning can be a force multiplier for publishers.

Paywall software has been implemented by some of the largest and most innovative publishers including the New York Times, Boston Globe, and Wired. Publishers need to find alternative methods for growing revenue beyond traditional ad-supported access to content.

Numerous factors have converged to apply pressure on the digital publishing ad model, including the rapid adoption of adblocking technology, growing concerns over visitor tracking and consent, and visitor desire for more control over their internet experience.

Publishers continue to research and deploy a variety of paywall services to find the best fit for their audience and business objectives.

Hard paywalls, where a paid subscription is required before any content can be viewed, can be risky and not appropriate for all publishers. Wired.com has had success with a metered paywall, where visitors can view a specified number of stories before they are required to purchase a subscription. 

Dynamic paywalls are showing even greater results, by leveraging visitor and traffic data to tie paid subscription options more closely to visitor behavior and the type of content they prefer. But in the end, most paywall solutions are primarily focused on a black and white decision point — either a visitor becomes a subscriber of paid content, or not — and that singular focus can push visitors away just when there’s an opportunity to grow relationships.

In contrast, the multi-dimensional metered paywall service is focused on deepening the relationship with visitors incrementally and ultimately maximizing paywall and news subscription results. 

What is a multi-dimensional metered paywall?

A multi-dimensional metered (MDM) paywall and is a CTA strategy that allows publishers to map a variety of engagement offers to visitors as intelligent, incremental steps. This deepens their engagement at the visitors’ pace.

Going beyond just newspaper paywall platforms and paid news subscriptions, the multi-dimensional approach allows publishers to leverage many options along a continuum of visitor engagements.

Rather than just ask visitors if they are ready to pay for access or go home, consumers can be asked to:

  • follow a publisher’s social profiles,
  • register for an email newsletter,
  • opt-in to web notifications,
  • whitelist the site or turn off adblockers,
  • consent to custom ad experiences,
  • engage in a sponsored activity, or
  • ultimately pay for premium content across content or even multiple sites within a network.

Visitors are not homogenous, even for a highly niche content site. Some are okay with viewing ads, but want more control over the type and frequency. Others are happy to follow on social media for an ad-lite content experience with the publisher. 

The majority of visitors simply aren’t ready to “get married” with a paid digital subscription in a publisher’s first ask. Instead, multi-dimensional metering helps publishers and visitors get to know each other, become friends, and date in the courtship that grows loyalty and trust. This can transform the traditional metered paywall into a relationship that is stickier and provides more value to both parties.

Over time, relationships equal revenue, and the multi-dimensional approach offers less risk than a “pay or go home” paywall script. Visitors would still be a path forward with “relationship microtransactions”, at a more personalized pace.

Publishers should consider nimble and smart paywalls and digital subscriptions that are responsive to visitor choice, while building brand affinity, reducing churn, and improving long-term revenues.

The majority of visitors simply aren’t ready to “get married” with a paid digital subscription in a publisher’s first ask.


You can be up and running with a smart paywall and subscription management solution in less than a week.

Admiral is the premier paywall service provider for power tools that are easy to set up and manage. For a demo of how Admiral’s Visitor Relationship Management (VRM) platform expands the relationship between publishers and users beyond the one-dimensional eyeballs & ads model. 

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