A New Best Practice for Video Subscription Trials

Trials have always been an effective customer acquisition tool for video subscription services. Currently, the Wicket Scorecard benchmark measuring Free Trial Conversion Percentage is 72.2% with some video services we work with seeing trial conversions above 80%. That said, reports that Netflix Ends Free 30-Day Trial Offer in the U.S. is causing some teams to pause and evaluate their Free Trial program. We thought it was a good time to revisit some best practices as well as add to the advice with some recent analysis by our Customer Success team.

Best Practices We Recommend

Keep Trials Short. We find that 7-day trials convert the best. It provides enough time for potential subscribers to watch a few programs and get a sense of the library. We’ve heard the argument that longer trials provide more time to evaluate the video service and this leads to lower month-one churn rates. This hasn’t been our experience. 

Dial-in your Onboarding Program. Establishing a consistent onboarding program for trials is a good first step to converting as well as retaining these customers throughout the first few months. We recommend an email promoting a basket of shows with a high Attention Index ensures an entertaining first few days for each audience member. Hidden Gems also work well to showcase the depth of the content library. 

Percent stalled trialists chart

Target Your Stalled Trialists. Some people sign up, watch one video, and never engage again. To increase your conversion rate with this cohort, we recommend a slightly more aggressive outreach program. Identify these stalled trialists and in addition to the regular onboarding program, make sure they receive at least one more email. Promoting titles with a high, shared audience may be a good hook to get these trialists beyond the first video and into your library.

A New Best Practice

Our guidance was to keep your onboarding communication as succinct as possible. Tl;dr is always a risk and the focus has always been on the content. A recent analysis by the Wicket Labs Customer Success team could provide a reason to extend your messaging. We found that

Trialists watching on 2 or more devices convert at rates 10%-15% higher than those watching on only 1 device. 

In addition to promoting select titles from your catalog, an advertisement for the other apps and devices you have invested in should be appended to your trialist messaging. Getting a trialist to log in on a second device may tip them into becoming a paying subscriber. 

Wicket Labs Can Help

You only have a few days to nudge a trialist into becoming a subscriber. Having your data set up to quickly work with your marketing or email tool to target each cohort is essential. Your data defines an optimal target and can even influence the creative by identifying the titles that convert well. 

The Wicket Scorecard is designed to make this easy. Your data is harmonized and exportable, either as a csv or through a direct integration with Hubspot, Sailthru, or Segment. The Scorecard identifies Stalled Trialists and the videos that are the best Trial Drivers. And our Customer Success team meets with our clients every 1-2 weeks to share best practices and act as an additional business analyst, identifying opportunities to optimize your video service. 

Schedule a meeting with us to learn more about the Wicket Scorecard and best practices for video services.


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