The average promotional price for major publishers’ subscription products increased in September after declining in July and August.
Toolkits examined the 100 most popular subscription sites among U.S. audiences and observed that the average subscription price available to new subscribers was $0.067 per day in September, up 8% from an average of $0.062 per day in August.
Meanwhile, the number of publishers in our sample offering free or discounted introductory rates reached 79% in September, having crept up consistently from 75% in June, and the average length of subscription trials remained relatively flat, month-over-month, at 154 days.
A softer outlook
For many publishers in our sample, September marked the end of aggressive promotions offered over the summer months, which may explain an increase in average pricing.
Looking forward, we would typically expect to see promotional pricing increase in October before dipping again in November as some publishers roll out Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. But as economic conditions continue to make converting new subscribers more challenging for many publishers, it’s likely we’ll see relatively little fluctuation in promotional pricing throughout the fourth quarter.
If economic conditions worsen, it’s also possible promotional pricing will dip below the $0.062 per day mark recorded in August as publishers roll out attractive offers in attempt to maintain conversion rates in Q4.
Discounted offers and trials persist
The number of publishers in our sample offering free or discounted trials has inched up over the past four months, and we expect that trend to continue.
As we’ve explored previously, discounted subscription offers and trials are here to stay, particularly if current economic conditions worsen. Audiences have come to expect trial offers, and publishers that refuse to offer them typically find driving new conversions more difficult as a result.
Long trials may resume
The average trial length offered in June stood at 199 days, but that dipped considerably in July and August, which could be a function of publishers relying primarily on attractive discounts to catch audiences’ eyes. As summer sales activity ends, we expect average trial length to continue to increase into October as publishers attempt to present as much value as possible via their offers.
We’ll continue to track pricing trends as the year progresses. If you find value in this type of data, please let us know what you’d like to see more of by filling out this short 4-question survey.