Insights from the GNI LATAM Subscriptions Lab

The findings indicate news organizations need to understand the types of content most important on the subscriber’s path to conversion to help guide editorial and marketing strategies.

June 2021
By Matt Lindsay, President and Arvid Tchivzhel, Managing Director

Mather Economics worked with eight publishers in Latin America during the GNI LATAM Subscription Laboratory. The full lab report will be released soon.

To provide an early look into the findings, we are sharing three of the 11 key takeaways from the report that are relevant for publishers everywhere. The full report will be released in late June, and all of the key insights will be discussed in detail.

1. When a reader consumes content across multiple topics, they are more likely to subscribe.

This is in some ways a counter-intuitive result with implications for new acquisition campaigns.

Another way to describe this observation: If two readers visit your Web site the same number of times per month, spend the same amount of time per session, and consume the same number of pages, the reader who consumes content across more topics is more likely to subscribe. Content recommendations should expose readers to a diverse array of topics and authors to broaden engagement and increase their propensity to subscribe.


Migrating single-topic readers to multi-topic readers has a greater impact on propensity to subscribe than simply continuing to increase visit frequency. Breadth of content engagement appears to deepen likely subscribers’ perception of the product’s value proposition. This finding was consistent across publishers in the Subscription Lab and validated by analysis from Mather’s work with publishers globally.

2. Less than half of all digital content newsrooms produced was consumed by readers who became subscribers.

One of the most surprising findings across this cohort was that, on average, about 65% of the digital content these publications produced within a three-month period had no impact on a subscriber’s path to conversion.

In other words, in the 30 days prior to purchasing subscriptions, these subscribers only engaged with about 35% of the content published. The 35% of articles on the path to conversion also accounted for 86% of all article pageviews.

Keep in mind that there will always be coverage newspapers need to produce to fulfill their mission as a news organization. But understanding what types of content are most important on a subscriber’s path to conversion will help guide editorial and marketing strategies.

As you align your newsroom’s activity with your digital audience strategy, be sure to identify what content is most effective at driving subscriptions. Path-to-conversion analysis can help publishers everywhere better understand how to refine their editorial strategy to meet subscription goals.

3. Increasing the number of times a reader hits a paywall makes them more likely to subscribe, but this likelihood declines after about 15 attempts.

Hitting the paywall boosts a reader’s propensity to subscribe, but that propensity declines after a certain number of sales attempts. For many publishers we have worked with, subscription propensity began to decline after 10 to 15 paywall hits for their average engaged visitor.

Alternative acquisition tactics can be used for those readers hitting the paywall more than 15 times in a 30-day period. These tactics include registration in return for added features, special subscription discounts, personalised calls to action, additional subscription offer value propositions, and other targeted incentives.

Mather has enabled publishers to target these users by creating an audience segment — high modal users — that can be targeted via the publisher’s paywall and other marketing channels. Varying the offers, discounts, and calls to action can monetize the hard-to-convert engaged users.


These are only three of the eleven key takeaways from the upcoming GNI LATAM Subs Lab report. We want to thank the publishers that participated in the subscription laboratory and Google for their substantial support throughout the engagement. Additional resources and insights are available in the GNI subscription playbook and by contacting Mather Economics.

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