LaterPay, Lessons Learned
Posted by Cosmin-Gabriel Ene, CEO, LaterPay
At LaterPay, our mission is to turn casual users into paying customers for digital content or services such as journalism, videos, and software. Our technology enables payments and micropayments without upfront registration and payment, facilitating the “use now, pay later” approach. This allows users to consume paid content and services on the internet with one or two clicks — without prior registration or having to pay in advance. It is only when the online tab’s limit is reached that users are prompted to register and pay via one of many popular payment methods. By decoupling purchases from payments, LaterPay lowers the entry thresholds for users to consume digital goods and services.
It’s almost exactly a year since we announced the launch of AMP Access LaterPay, the first AMP-enabled paywall and subscription platform that can be utilized by all publishers. The platform integrated LaterPay directly into AMP pages, allowing publishers to easily include a paywall and subscription model, in their AMP monetization strategy.
One year later, however, we continue to be amazed at how slowly the industry is moving to leverage AMP. After launching with our first customers in the US this year, and we wanted to encourage publishers to more embrace the solution and to share the lessons that we at LaterPay have learned when it comes to implementing new and innovative approaches to subscription growth.
1. Publishers should consider new monetization strategies.
The industry needs to embrace the opportunity that technology companies offer, rather than appearing more focused on explaining the reasons for failure.
One remark that repeatedly came up in connection to AMP was the claim that “Google just built AMP in order to have another way of delivering its ads to people. We don’t really trust it.” The first time I heard this it blew my mind since it’s 100% false, and it has continued to puzzle me ever since. It got me thinking about whether publishers truly prioritize user experience (an argument could be made that they probably do not) and whether they want to do business based on journalism or if they just want to keep shadow boxing an imaginary opponent who silently serves as a scapegoat for their woes.
We’ve had to engage in many educational conversations backed by hard numbers in order to explain and demonstrate how publishers can use AMP to generate incremental revenues and try out different monetization models, like the ones integrated in the LaterPay conversion funnel. What they liked best is that with AMP and LaterPay they are able to create their own conversion funnel by mixing up engagement models and payment models.
2. With great user experience driving AMP adoption, publishers should embrace technologies that bridge AMP and HTML
Publishers who truly care about a better user experience and delivering fast content need to put AMP to use and then figure out ways to monetize the traffic. The stories of how Jeff Bezos supported super-fast load times at the Washington Post, together with research proving that each second of page load time loses up to 20% of their users, probably convinced many publishers that user experience matters and fast content delivery is crucial in today’s digital world, where users start tapping on the table in impatience if they don’t see something on their screen within two seconds.
While the Post, the New York Times and a few other publishers can monetize AMP traffic outside of the advertising space, the majority cannot do so. In fact, we often hear in discussions with publishers that almost anyone who is not a top 10 publisher has the same problem: they need ways to monetize AMP content but can’t afford to build their own solution like the Post or the Times.
Nic Newman from Reuters helped identify the reason. He postulated that publishers with existing paywalls start to reach a plateau – a saturation in subscribers – at which point they simply have to think about how to continue growing. This has to happen by looking at anything supporting or complementing subscriptions and this is where LaterPay can help. AMP offers a chance to test monetization outside of existing subscription models – and this is where we started to find open doors.
3. Publishers should leverage AMP to engage and convert consumers in to paying customers.
We had to make sure publishers understood the unique value proposition that LaterPay brings to the table in general – and also specifically in the context of AMP – in order not to be dismissed as just “doing something with payments.”
We positioned LaterPay to publishers as a “metered model 2.0” that complements subscriptions and generates incremental revenues while also offering a frictionless way to monetize AMP traffic. The AMP spin is to understand that users who are not yet subscribers but have an impulse to contribute to the publisher should be given a tool to make a monetary contribution with a single click, and only be required to pay later. This works either via our contributions model (contribute now, pay later) or the single purchase model (read now, pay later). Impulse purchases have to be facilitated within seconds or they are gone and our own numbers show that 78% of all purchases enabled by LaterPay’s technology on publishers’ sites are made within 7 seconds.
Using LaterPay as a means to identify and segment heavy news consumers – consumers who are more likely to pay – across websites also helps publishers upsell users into higher priced models and create tailored offerings for them. We introduced the idea of monetizing both regular and AMP content outside subscriptions with the goal of establishing the value of the content, nurturing that value and then generating potential subscribers over time. We believe that this will help publishers understand and monetize their audience across platforms.
We backed this up by several examples, like the one small publisher, Kevelaerer Blatt, who, since starting to use LaterPay, generates 35% from selling individual articles and 53% from subscriptions, with now 200% in growth of subscription revenues.
Establishing value with every click is a path to onboarding users and converting them into paying users. Combining a la carte models to harness the great user experience that AMP offers with time passes to establish value and to practice nurturing value, in order to increase overall revenues and to increase the number of subscribers, is essential.
From LaterPay’s perspective, AMP is a huge boon to publishers, making it fast and easy to engage an audience that is increasingly prioritizing mobile search over desktop. And yet the industry continues to drag its feet. Given that AMP was designed specifically to provide a consistent experience, with rapid page-loads, isn’t it time that we all embrace it?