KStA Click & Read
2024 Finalist

KStA Click & Read

KstA Digitale Medien

Cologne, Germany

Category Digital Subscriptions

Overview of this campaign

In early 2023, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger’s digital subscription numbers hit a plateau, with especially high churn rates stopping subscriber growth. The most frequent reasons for users to cancel their subscription was that they often only were only interested in single articles, they didn’t use their subscription frequently enough or they didn’t want to commit for a longer time period. As a result, we were looking for a product that could offer these users a more flexible alternative to our existing subscriptions. This is how we developed „Click & Read“, combining a pay per use approach with a prepaid model.

„Click & Read“ customers have access to a digital wallet, which they can top up with a virtual currency called coins. Each coin can be used to unlock one premium article on the website. Coins don’t expire and don’t renew automatically, providing maximum flexibility to the users.

Top up offers range from 3 coins for 5€ to 15 Coins for 15€. That means the more coins are topped up, the cheaper the price per coin. The minimum amount of 5€ also guarantees a more stable source of revenue to us than a traditional pay per article model, which many publishers have turned away from in the past.

„Click & Read“ complements our existing subscription offers and is targeted at users who value flexibility and want to get to know our content before committing to a long term subscription. We substituted our previous trial month offer for 0,99€ with „Click & Read“. We now only offer monthly or yearly subscriptions, which remain the more attractive option for users who read on a regular basis.

Development of „Click & Read“ took about two months, including planning and designing to technical integration and testing. The product was introduced in August 2023. Marketing focussed especially on meta platforms as well as promoting the offer on the paywall. To explain the new mechanic, we offered videos and a FAQ section.

Results for this campaign

Until end of december 2023, approx. 1.300 customers have used „Click & Read“, which is around 7% of our total digital subscriber number. Almost 8.500 Coins have been topped up and more than half of them have already been used.

While around 80% of users have topped up once, 13% are in their second top up cycle and there are a few heavy users which have topped up 7 times or more. In general, users tend to start with the cheapest offer (3 coins for 5€) and top up more coins later on.

Only 8% of „Click & Read“ users have been subscribers before. This means we have successfully targeted to product to new users instead of cannibalizing existing customers.

„Click & Read“ accounts for around 2% of subscription revenue so far, with revenue increasing as more users choose to top up more credits. With the minimum amount of 5€ per top up, „Click & Read“ makes three times more revenue than the previous 0,99€ trial month on a monthly basis.

At the same time, the churn rate of our traditional subscriptions has been cut down by half by substituting the trial month which had very high churn rates. For this reason, we again see a growth in classic subscription numbers while at the same time growing the „Click & Read“ user base.

For long time success, „Click & Read“ users need to be active and regularly spend as well as top up coins to ensure revenue income. At the moment, around 16% of users are stalling and do not spend their coins. We will target these users in future campaigns and introduce new features to grow their engagement.

In summary, „Click & Read“ has proofed to be a valuable and innovative addition to our traditional digital subscription, allowing a more flexible approach and thus monetizing a new group of users.


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