Want a smarter way to generate revenue from your content?
Drizzle aims to shake up the world of ad blockers and paywalled content by offering website owners an easy way to charge readers with micropayments.
The Drizzle WordPress plugin is part of the larger Drizzle universe. Instead of charging users a monthly subscription fee, you can offer the option for users to pay for individual posts with micropayments as low as $.25.
If the user already has a Drizzle account, they can do this with just one click. If not, they can still get up-and-running with payments in just two clicks.
I think this is an awesome idea for making paywalls more accessible and user-friendly. Where I think the plugin will really become valuable is if Drizzle can get enough marketplace acceptance to create an entire ecosystem of readers willing to pay with one click. However, even without more mainstream acceptance, I think it can still bring value to your site.
Why is Drizzle better than other paywalls?
It’s all about micropayments…
I know normal paywall subscriptions aren’t that expensive, but asking users to agree to a $5 or $10 monthly charge is still a difficult proposition. Getting them to pay 25 cents with just the click of a button? That’s a lot easier and plays on people’s impulse control.
With a low price barrier (~25 cents) and low effort barrier (one or two clicks), users will be primed to pay for content. Over time, those 25 cent payments will definitely add up.
Drizzle conducted a consumer survey which indicates that 73% of consumers prefer this style of micropayments over monthly subscriptions. Now, I think the question they asked is a tiny bit slanted towards pushing that answer, but probably not enough to eliminate that gap. For a little more interesting analysis, they also asked people how many articles they read per blog per month, and then plotted those results versus the payment survey.
Anecdotally, unless a site pumps out tons of content and I’m a rabid reader, I would definitely prefer micropayments as well.
So with that out of the way, let’s jump into the plugin and see how it works with WordPress…
Setting up the Drizzle plugin
Installing Drizzle is easy. You’ll do most of the customizing on Drizzle’s website, not your WordPress dashboard.
Once you install the plugin, all you need to do is enter your Drizzle API key:
To get that API key, you’ll need to sign up at the Drizzle:
Then, copy and paste the API key and click save:
Once you do that, you can go back to the Drizzle site and start setting up your options. For a new service, I’m impressed with how fleshed out the dashboard is.
First, you’ll set up your metered paywall option. This is how many free articles users get per month. Note - users have to be logged into their Drizzle account to get their free paywalled content. So this feature does some double duty of using your content to grow the Drizzle user base. You do get the nice metered paywall, but it’s just something I wanted to note.
To paywall content in your site, you just need to wrap it in shortcodes. Then it will appear in your Drizzle dashboard:
If you click on "Manage", you can set some options for your paywall. One cool feature is Automatic Paywall Removal. When enabled, Drizzle will automatically unlock content that isn’t performing well (measured by eCPM). Automating this activity should save you a ton of time:
Drizzle also lets you set up paid subscriptions - you can pick a monthly amount between $5 and $25. For most sites, those values should be fine. Note - you can only change this value once very 6 months, so make sure you choose wisely:
You can also choose to set up a custom logo for the signup form (more on what that looks like in the next section).
See Drizzle in action
Now that I’ve got Drizzle set up on my site, it’s time to see it in action. Here’s what a paywalled post looks like. Remember - to get this, all I had to do is enter my API key and wrap the content in shortcodes. It’s super simple:
When a user clicks "sign up", a sidebar will slide out that lets them easily register without leaving the site:
I like that they can do everything from within your site - I think it makes users more likely to register.
But...I would love if you could make it so users don’t have to register until they’ve already read their free articles. Requiring a new user to perform an action right away feels like it might push some people away. One solution would be to leave a free excerpt and only lock up a part of the content (which is easy to do with the shortcode).
I'm guessing this is hard coded this way to avoid people using incognito mode to get around content restrictions - so it's not all bad. I just would want the option to decide for myself.
Drizzle pricing and payments
You may have noticed that I didn’t include a step where you set prices for your content…
That’s because Drizzle does this automatically. You don’t set up the micropayment amounts. Here’s how Drizzle calculates them:
There are three tiers of content, based on the total popularity within Drizzle as a whole (not just your site). Ranked by performance, here’s what they earn you…
- Top 0-60%: $.20
- Top 60-90%: $.40
- Top 90-100%: $.80
Note, those aren’t the prices charged to end users. Drizzle takes a small fee, which is where they make their money. End users will pay $.25, $.50, and $1.00.
By using Drizzle, you give up direct control over how your content is priced. If Drizzle can grow enough of a user base, this might definitely be worth it. You just need to weigh the costs/benefits.
For receiving payments, you can get paid via PayPal or Dwolla.
Other notable Drizzle features
There are a few additional benefits you get from being part of the Drizzle ecosystem:
Content recommendations - Drizzle includes a “Recommend” button as part of the plugin. Drizzle uses this to recommend additional content to users. If readers recommend your content a lot, you can push some additional traffic.
Lead generation - you get the name and email of everyone who purchased your content. You also get some details about their activity, like how many times they've paid and if they've subscribed.
Drizzle clearly has some talented people behind it and is very professionally done. The Drizzle web interface connects seamlessly with the WordPress plugin. Content automatically showed up on the Drizzle site literally seconds after adding the shortcode in my WordPress dashboard.
It’s incredibly easy to implement - so if you’re not technical, or don’t want to spend a lot of time, it’s a great solution.
I also think micropayments are a really smart way to monetize content.
The only thing I didn’t like was the control you lose. You don’t get to set your own pricing structure and users have to sign in, even to read free articles (Note - this is only for articles that include the shortcode, I want to make it clear that Drizzle doesn’t lock all your content). I understand why Drizzle did this - it creates a consistent experience for end-users, but I still wish you had some flexibility.
Even with that criticism, I still think Drizzle is worth checking out now. And if they grow their user base of readers ready to pay with micropayments, it might really develop into a whole new monetization stream for content providers.
For the latest insights into Drizzle and paid content, you can always check out the Drizzle blog.