Collective Wisdom: Drive conversions with Piano’s A/B testing strategy

To deliver the perfect subscription experience for their users and deploy the most effective converting strategies, publishers need to understand their audience and the tactics that drive them to subscribe and renew. This is where A/B tests come in.

A/B testing takes the guesswork out of a brand’s efforts to optimize its subscription experience. It enables marketers and teams company-wide to have a solid understanding of how audiences are engaging with their digital properties and fine-tune their offers based on statistically conclusive results.

A/B testing is proving to be a valuable way for publishers to optimize their subscription programs, finding opportunities for incremental improvements that drive conversions. Piano’s A/B testing functionality makes it easy for publishers to build a culture of testing. Our software is purpose-built to support multiple access and business models, including dynamic or metered paywalls, freemium, membership, registration, time-based, and pay-per-view.

Founded on industry benchmark data, the Piano platform supports A/B testing across a wide range of variables and elements. This enables you to discover not only the most effective pricing, meter heights, messaging, and design elements, but also the types of offer bundles that resonate most with your audience.

Here are a few success stories that illustrate how Piano will help you deploy higher converting strategies and deliver the perfect subscription experience.

The digital financial news site powered to optimize content and pricing

The challenge:

Already a leading national financial and political digital news publication, the publisher was looking to develop its subscriber base by improving its subscription products to find the best solutions for its users. With a hybrid freemium and dynamic paywall, it aimed to add to its 50M monthly site visitors and 33K+ subscribers.

The goal was to understand how readers were reacting to premium vs. freemium content and the effect that locking paid content had on the Click Through Rate (CTR). The digital team also wanted to test different types of Call To Action (CTA) and pricing strategies to find the best way to encourage users to subscribe and drive engagement from the homepage to their eShop, boosting conversions through special campaigns.

The solution:

To achieve its goals, it needed to create a range of A/B tests around content and pricing to refine and optimize each part of the subscription program.

Working with Piano Composer’s dynamic A/B testing, the publisher was able to experiment with the tagging of premium articles, optimize the CTA and fine-tune the pricing. Testing both copy and design elements, the testing showed that even small elements like icons or button design have the potential to make an impact.

As a result, it could rapidly identify the most effective ways to feature premium articles on its homepage, create more engaging CTA buttons and use discounted prices to drive revenue.

The takeaway:

Intelligent strategic A/B testing can bring rapid results

By leveraging Piano’s advanced A/B testing approach to drive data-backed decisions, the publisher saw a 7% increase in conversions from tagging premium content, a +75% in clicks from the CTA test, and a 26% increase in revenue
 discovered through the pricing test.

Global business-news provider set up to launch a new revenue stream

The challenge:

Following several years of significant audience growth, the global digital news site wanted to find creative ways to continue to capitalize on user gains. As a result, the company began to ramp up its digital subscription business by refreshing its Pro Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) site, a premium service that provides in-depth financial news access.

Looking to data to drive its decision-making, the publisher aimed to better understand its customers and what drove their behaviors and conversions. As part of this process, it identified the need to test different approaches to acquisition and pricing.

The solution:

The digital team carried out numerous A/B tests with Piano’s Composer with the aim of optimizing its free trials as part of the acquisition strategy. It also tested out pricing structures to help understand how its customers reacted to different pricing options.

It was able to rapidly develop benchmarks and build the testing environment with the Piano platform that allowed them to effectively gather data, identify statistically significant results, implement those findings then iterate quickly to continue optimizing aspects of its subscription offer.

The takeaway:

A/B testing is a fast track to successfully building and optimizing a subscription offer

By testing out the trial offer, the news site found that a seven-day trial performed better than the 30-day trial they had been offering. The seven-day trial offer created better yield which enabled the team to implement additional tests to gauge the success of other aspects of offers.

Via its price testing, it offered a 3-month subscription for Black Friday/Cyber Monday upon which subscribers could convert to an annual subscription at full price. This led to the team creating a full calendar of promotions to offers throughout the year.

Legacy national media publication helped to optimize its dynamic paywall

The challenge:

As the first national news site to launch paid subscriptions, the publisher was faced with a low-maturity digital marketplace where the majority of publications still operated on an advertising-funded model with readers unwilling to pay for online content.

As well as local, the site also had a diverse international reader base who had their own specific needs when being targeted as potential subscribers.

Therefore, the publisher needed a solution to help them understand their audience and segment readers into different groups. This would allow them to test pricing options as well as different user experiences and packages until they found the ideal combination.

The solution:

The media publication worked with Piano to segment its audience so it could then target different reader groups with tailored A/B tested strategies.

Using Piano’s Likelihood to Subscribe (LtS) propensity modeling it could split its audiences into segments. This allowed it to A/B test pricing, experiences, and packages to better understand the readers’ preferences across regions and optimize the pricing strategy accordingly.

To engage its international audience it targeted readers that had already provided personal information by logging into the site. This enabled them to A/B test and create specifically targeted scaled offers. Then to attract readers from different areas of the site, it was able to
target potential customers from the home and premium pages with specific offers
displayed on the page footer based on a reader’s profile.

The takeaway:

Piano’s advanced segmentation combined with A/B testing is a powerful way to drive subscriptions.

Thanks to Piano’s A/B testing in use by teams across the organization, the publisher has implemented a highly successful dynamic paywall and has considerably boosted both its local and international reader subscription base.

With their subscribers favoring annual terms, with over 70% committing to a yearly subscription over other shorter-term options, the publication has surpassed 90,000 subscriptions.

Piano’s A/B testing enables publishers to continually refine and optimize their offer to ensure their messaging is the most effective for their audience

To create the optimal subscriber experience, publishers need to choose a partner with extensive A/B testing expertise to draw the deepest insights and leverage valuable industry benchmark data. User behaviors and preferences change over time, so your subscription offering should as well.

Piano’s A/B testing allows you to rapidly and seamlessly:

  • Launch tests faster with help from Piano Experts – Piano provides a library of digital strategies, insights, best practices, and proven results from hundreds of clients
  • Test anything and everything on your offer – test any element of your offer, such as headlines, text, CTAs, pricing, colors, and much more
  • Optimize your paywall strategy to drive more conversions – uncover which experiences move audiences to convert by testing paywall and reg-wall settings such as free trial terms, messaging, and creative; and the number of free articles readers get before being prompted to register
  • Deliver content that converts – test elements to reveal the ideal content format, design, placement, number of recommended articles, and auto-optimization settings
  • Deploy new business rules and creative within clicks – easily set up personalized experiences in our graphical interface without the need to change code on your site
  • Test at scale, across your entire subscription business – Piano allows you to run various tests at the same time, in multiple branches and multiple experiences

Learn more about A/B testing in Digiday's Publisher's Guide to A/B Testing

Piano empowers organizations to understand and influence customer behavior. By unifying customer data, analyzing behavior metrics, and creating personalized customer journeys, Piano helps brands launch campaigns and products faster, strengthen customer engagement, and drive personalization at scale—all on a single platform.

Contact us today to discover how your organization can better understand and activate your user data to bolster revenue and engagement.