Member Movement & Conversion and Churn through 20 May 2021

The last time I wrote a note about our membership numbers, it was early March, right after the end of Black History Month, and indeed OVID enjoyed a nice uptick in sign-ups throughout February. Unfortunately, many good things come to an end, and it seems like a higher than usual percentage of those new people then canceled their subscriptions in March.

The result, as you can see from the chart below, was that we had our first real (if modest) drop-off in members.

Member Movement

But then, in April, we released Peter Watkin’s masterpiece (I think) La Commune (Paris, 1871) and began a new online web ad campaign promoting its exclusive premiere on OVID. We focused the ads on the Jacobin and The Nation websites, with good results: As you can see, we have since recovered and now, at the end of May, have hit new highs in total and net-paying memberships.

The other chart of conversions (free trials that “convert” to paid subscriptions) and churn (cancelations) complements this data, showing how churn went up to the highest level we’ve seen, but more recently has come back down closer to our historical levels, slightly under 10%.

(We’ve been told that the “industry” average is 11.3%, so if that’s true we’re doing well!)

Conversion and Churn

Let’s hope these trends continue.

Right now, my operating theory is that we need conversion rates of over 60% and churn below 10% in order to be successful in the long run.

Speaking of churn: We are considering cutting our free trial period from 14 days to 7 days—the idea being that it won’t discourage sign-ups but more people won’t cancel before the end of the trial period. Thoughts?

Jonathan Miller

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