Paywall computer screen.png


One of my first projects for Foreign Affairs was to improve their paywall. They wanted to increase the registration rate and they noticed that their was a drop off during the subscription process. When I did the initial research, I had new users go through both the registration and subscription flow to figure out the source of the problems. 

Areas of friction

  1. 2 of the 5 users were confused at what they were getting when subscribing. One of the confused users thought she didn't get online access to articles if she got the print magazine. Then at the confirmation page, she was confused whether she ordered the right subscription. 
  2. Even though the copy states that registration is free, 2 of the 5 users thought they were going to input their credit card during the check out process. 
  3. Users regularly found copy that confused them such as "free benefits" after you pay for a subscription are not actually free. 


First I wanted to be upfront about what the user was getting. Laying out the three subscription options enabled the reader to understand exactly what they were paying for. 

Second I wanted to focus on the actions that we wanted them to take. We wanted them to register so we should focus on just the register button. We want them to subscribe to plus, highlight it with red. 

Old Version

old paywall.png

New Version

new paywall.png

A/B testing results

  • New version increased registrations by almost 2% (garnered 2,000 more registrations in three weeks)
  • New version drove subscriptions up by 39.9 % as well as decreased clicks by 52.1%. Meaning that users were more likely to click on the option they wanted. 
  • Visitors were 47% more likely to choose 'Plus' or 'Digital' subscriptions over 'Print', which is a win because plus and digital have better profit margins. 

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