Case Study

Three Popover Examples From News Organizations: CNN, NY Times, The Guardian

The changing media landscape spawned fledgling business models and underscores the need for news organizations to monetize their website traffic. So it’s no surprise they often use popovers to convert readers into subscribers. In this blog post, we examine the popover techniques and Persuasive Free Offers (PFOs) utilized by CNN, the New York Times, and The Guardian.

1. CNN – Free / Ad Supported site with Partial Popover

Content on the CNN website is free for visitors to access. They rely heavily on video content sourced from their cable channel and, in some cases, monetize this video content with pre-roll advertisements. They currently use a partial popover “squeeze” page that encourages users to sign up for their daily “Five Things For Your New Day” email newsletter. We like the design and the fact that it’s only a partial popover but the copy is not as compelling as it could be.

Popover/PFO Grade: C

2. New York Times – Free / Ad Supported / Pay Wall site with Full Page Popover

The New York Times provides free access for visitors to a small number of articles each month. Once that limit is exceeded, users are presented with a “pay wall” in the form of a full page popover. Visitors must subscribe to view more content. We understand the need for news organizations to take a “hard line” stance in which they force users to subscribe. But we wish the NY Times would tinker with its business model and work harder to empathize with visitors who are not accustomed to paying for their news.

Popover/PFO Grade: B

3. The Guardian – Free / Ad Supported site with Partial Popover

The Guardian takes an empathetic stance by appealing to visitors’ sense of fairness and asks them to make a contribution (as opposed to becoming a subscriber). Their partial popover states, “If you use it, if you like it, then why not pay for it? It’s only fair.” We love the gentle but obvious request because it gives the decision making power to the visitor and this in turn allows the visitor to reach their own conclusion about paying

Popover/PFO Grade: A