Optimize Audience Growth & Subscriber Acquisition with a Freemium Experience

Written by
Sam Lucas
August 4, 2020

“Try before you buy” content viewing on Special 

As a content creator, you are running a business by producing and delivering content to your audience. Whether your audience is spending their time viewing your free content, or spending their money viewing your premium content, these viewers can be considered customers--each at different points in the customer journey. 

The customer journey for subscription video streaming business follows a simple 3 step funnel. 

1. Awareness: free content viewing audience 

2. Consideration: freemium experience audience 

3. Active Subscribers: premium content viewing audience (superfans) 


New viewers may discover your free content and brand on social media, YouTube, or other distribution platforms. These platforms are best used as marketing channels to deliver teasers, sneak peaks, or smaller edits of your longer form or series based content. 

In the awareness stage, your customers are spending their time viewing your free content. Here, it is important to think about your content as a marketing effort to get discovered by new audiences and drive these viewers to your Special. 


Just like an online retail store markets content to their customers and drives this traffic to their e-commerce website, driving your free content viewing audience to your Special moves your customers from the awareness stage into the consideration stage. 

In the consideration stage, your audience is determining whether your premium content and a subscription to your Special is right for them. It is important to give new viewers a taste of what they will gain access to if they choose to subscribe to your Special. 

This can be done by curating a select amount of premium content that new viewers can view for free before having to subscribe. This may be episode 1 of an 8 episode series, or a full series available for free while all other series are only viewable for paying subscribers. 

By curating select premium content that can be viewed by non-paying subscribers, your viewers can “try before they buy.” These viewers in the consideration stage may also share these videos with their friends or on social media, to further reach new potential customers and draw a bigger audience. 

“Try before you buy” content viewing enables new viewers to experience your content first, realize value, and then choose to subscribe. 

As a creator on Special, you have 2 options when uploading and configuring your premium content. Upon uploading each individual video, you may configure whether the video can be viewed for free, or whether only paying subscribers can view your video.

This option is highly customizable and controllable by you in the Creator Studio and most often chosen by creators with long form, movie based content that they want to ensure is for paying subscribers only. 

You may also choose to turn on a “Freemium Experience” on your Special. 

What is the Freemium Experience? Each time a new viewer lands on your Special, they can view any 3 videos for free. This is similar to articles on the Wall Street Journal or on Medium where a new viewer may discover your content from a google search, social media, or a shared link and can view a limited amount of your premium content for free before having to subscribe. 

We invented the Freemium Experience on Special, to convert more subscribers and grow your paying audience. 

If this viewer is engaged and continues to view additional videos, they will eventually have to subscribe to continue viewing. The Freemium Experience on Special allows new viewers to view any 3 of your videos for free before all of your content locks down and the viewer must subscribe to continue watching. 

Try before you buy content viewing helps nurture new viewers through the consideration stage and is optimized to convert and acquire more paying subscribers to your Special. Thus, growing your content business and recurring revenue. 

The process is cyclical and optimized to reach more viewers and acquire more subscribers. 

Network effects and virality occur when one viewer shares your content with 3 of their friends, multiplying your reach and adding 3x more viewers into the consideration stage. 

Active Subscriber (Superfans) 

Once you have converted viewers into paying subscribers, your configured Freemium Experience continues to work for you. 

As paying subscribers, your customers are now your superfans. When these subscribers share your videos with their friends directly or on social media, new traffic can view any 3 videos, and immediately enters the consideration stage. 

Understanding your customers, their viewing habits, and their willingness to spend time or money is key to optimizing audience growth and subscriber acquisition. 


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