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Paths to subscription: Nine common journeys from reader to subscriber

When you step back and look at all the things that lead people to subscribe to a newspaper—the background factors, the specific triggers, the lifestyle conditions, and the publication characteristics—patterns emerge.

The survey asked an array of questions to get at all of this. Those multiple questions can make the results seem complicated because there is a lot to digest, but they also provide a richer profile of the consumer.

To help make sense of this robust data, we looked for patterns and connections in the answers from more than 4,100 recent subscribers. Based on this analysis, we identified nine different groups—what we call “paths to subscription.”

Some individual subscribers might fit into more than one group. But these paths offer a clear sense of different types of readers and how publishers should try to appeal to them.

The nine paths are:

  1. Digital Paywall Converters
  2. Topic Hunters
  3. The Locally Engaged
  4. Social Media-Mobile Discoverers
  5. Journalism Advocates
  6. Life Changers
  7. Coupon Clippers
  8. Print Fans
  9. Friends and Family

The report describes the unique combination of factors that lead each group to subscribe and offers insights into the best ways to target readers of each path.

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