Registered Users: The First Step to Building an Audience Development Strategy

To help quantify the impact a registered user has on KPIs like pageviews, return visits, and time spent, Viafoura compared the behaviors of several million users in two groups: registered users and non-registered users…

Updated September 25th, 2019


  • Most publishers leverage metered paywalls. Those who have approximately 6% of visitors reach the paywall are able to build a thriving digital subscription strategy
  • You need to get visitors to spend more time on-site and engage with more content so they get to your paywalls
  • Leverage engagement tools to improve page views and time spent on-site to grow your registered user base
  • Registered users give you valuable insights into who is interested in your content so you can further personalize their experience

Before we get into the first step of audience development, let’s take a look at the final step a user takes: becoming a paid subscriber. 

In a recent study by Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Centre on Media, Politics and Public Policy, they found publishers with thriving digital subscription strategies had approximately 6% of unique visitors reach their paywall (stop rate). 

“The stop rate is calculated by the number of users stopped by a meter or paywall in a given month over the number of unique visitors during that period. Most papers were stopping only a tiny fraction of readers, while the ones with stronger digital businesses were stopping significantly more.”

Most publishers have a metered paywall, meaning, after a defined number of articles a user is stopped with a CTA. If most papers are stopping only a tiny fraction of readers, you need to start looking at ways to get users to spend more time on your site, consuming more content. They need a reason to stay. 

This is where engagement tools come in handy. When used correctly, engagement tools produce a 248% lift in weekly pageviews per user and 364% lift in time spent on site. That translates to a lot more people getting to your paywall.

In order to build a thriving digital subscription strategy, you need to have your audience stay on your site longer. In order to do that, they need to engage with your content in an intuitive and seamless manner. That all starts with getting users to register for your properties.

Viafoura recently compared the behaviors of over 100 million unique users (registered and non-registered) to see what differences exist between them when consuming news. The results are striking.

Viafoura recently compared the behaviors of over 100 million unique users (registered and non-registered) to see what differences exist between them when consuming news. The results are striking.

Per user per week Sitewide Pageviews Attention Time per visist (mins)
Registered Users* 52 98
Non-Registered Users** 4 5
Average Lift 14x 23x

Data collected Jan 2019 – May 2019
*sampled 14 unique media brands
**sampled 85M unique non-registered and 2.5M registered users

Overall, registered users spend 225% more time consuming media content per week.

More importantly, over 80% of all user registrations are triggered on pages that feature onsite engagement tools and user-generated content. We cannot stress this enough, engagement tools are table stakes for building an audience development strategy.

Engagement is the Path to Community

The evidence is clear. Registered users are more invested in the news they consume, spending more time and engaging more frequently with the content being published.  It is also clear that the more opportunities there are for users to engage on-site, the more people will be interested in registering.

The more information you’re able to gain on your audience, the more you can personalize their experience on-site.

RELATED: Why Attention Time Matters

Increasing User Registration

So how can a media outlet increase user registration? Simplify the registration process and build value.

*A recent study conducted by Blue Research, showed that 77% of respondents believe that websites should offer social logins, and 60% agreed that companies offering social logins are more up to date and innovative.

The registration experience must not only be frictionless, but it should also be designed as a value exchange. This means that they should be able to access quality content and material by registering.

Provide users with the option to log in effortlessly with their social ID or email. Prompt users throughout their journey to complete their profile and provide additional information as their activity builds.

If you haven’t already, maximize the opportunities for user engagement. In our review, 25%-50% of all user registrations were a direct result of Viafoura’s Conversations Suite.

The Bottom Line

The key takeaway from all of this is that registered users are invested users. These individuals want to be a part of a media community, interacting with others, sharing content and opting-in for real-time updates. It is these engaged audience members that will provide valuable user insights and, ultimately, much-needed revenue.

Interested in learning more?

Connect with us today to learn how Viafoura can help you build, manage and monetize your audience.

Connect Now

Author: Jesse Moeinifar

Founder & CEO of Viafoura, is a serial entrepreneur with multiple successes spanning a range of industries, including real estate, digital media and software. Dedicated to disruption, Jesse is passionate about game-changing ideas and credits his accomplishments to assembling teams of smart individuals committed to solving challenging problems.

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