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In September, we applied for newly created funding program called Media Founders Program, which was jointly launched by Medieninnovationszentrum Babelsberg (MIZ) and MediaTech Hub Accelerator. It consists of two phases in total.

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Berlin, 20.10.2022 – Berlin-based startup Snaque ( offers newspaper and magazine publishers a new SaaS solution that allows them to monetize more readers while offering a powerful, high-priced new ad format to their own advertising clientele. Snaque’s software is now available for all publishers in the DACH region and has already been successfully in use at the Sächsische Zeitung ( since the beginning of July. Further publisher integrations are already being planned for the coming months.

Monetize more readers with the Snaque Playwall

Publishers can use Snaque to add a “playwall” to their paywall. This makes it possible to unlock articles behind the paywall and read them free of charge. This is done through reader interaction with advertisers’ branded content. They pay for the activation of the article on behalf of the readers. In this way, publishers can monetize more readers and at the same time strengthen their advertising environment. Media companies that use a paywall to monetize their online content face one problem in particular: many readers jump off at the paywall and decide not to subscribe. For publishers, this circumstance is unfortunate for two reasons. Firstly, too few readers are monetized and converted into subscribers; secondly, the high bounce rate damages web metrics such as reach and dwell time, which are important for quality as an advertising medium. With Snaque, publishers can solve precisely these problems without worrying about the development of digital subscriptions: Because they have full control over which reader segments get the offer played out by Snaque and can limit the number of articles that can be unlocked with Snaque. The technical integration is very simple. “Snaque can be integrated into all common content management and paywall systems by means of an interface,” explains Henning Tillmann, founder of Snaque. “Once publishers are connected to our system, they can start using the Playwall within days and have access to a comprehensive analytics dashboard and an easy-to-use campaign editor.”

Powerful ad format for an exclusive advertising inventory

With the Playwall, Snaque not only provides publishers with a tool for reader engagement and
conversion, its is also a powerful new ad format for their advertising inventory. What makes it special is the possibility for the advertiser to interact with readers. And this is how it works: Snaque bars (illustrated short surveys) are displayed directly on the paywall in full screen on the reader’s smartphone or desktop PC and enable a direct exchange. The short surveys are answered by swiping on the smartphone or by simple clicks on the desktop PC. The prominent and unrivaled placement directly at the paywall ensures full attention of the readers. By surveying readers, Snaque Bars ultimately enable the delivery of a personalized offer that is reflected in double-digit click-through rates (CTR). “The interaction and questioning of the readers literally creates a sales conversation,” explains Katja Waldor, founder of Snaque. “The advertising is personalized based on the responses, entirely without tracking, and converts particularly well in this way. We achieve a CTR of 15 percent on average. Depending on the campaign, values of over 20% are also possible.”

Successful start with Sächsische Zeitung (SZ)

Since the beginning of July, Snaque has been exclusively in use on There, around 100,000 articles were unlocked with Snaque within the first three months. The project manager at SZ is Ludwig Zeumer, Chief Digital Officer, who uses Snaque’s Playwall as part of the monetization and conversion strategy. “Snaque helps us keep readers in the sales funnel longer. For the first time, we can monetize flybys, reduce bounce rates and increase dwell time,” explains Zeumer. “In addition, with Snaque we have a new advertising format for our advertisers that is particularly convincing with long engagement and high click-through rates that would be unthinkable with ordinary display ads.” This is also reflected in the advertising price. Snaque is currently the highest-priced ad format in the inventory, and its good performance makes significantly higher advertising prices possible. In addition to new revenues, Snaque is also paying dividends for the subscription business: “We see a significantly higher willingness on the part of readers to take out a subscription if they have previously been able to look behind the paywall thanks to Snaque. The conversion rate in the “Snaquer” group increased sevenfold at the peak,” says Zeumer. The regional publisher and Snaque have a lot planned in the coming months: Snaque is to be implemented ever more closely in the digital conversion and marketing strategy in order to strengthen the digital business of the DDV Media Group. “As a digitally broad-based, modern media company, we are always on the lookout for new, innovative solutions that help us to constantly align our offering to the needs of our readers. Snaque will therefore be an integral part of our digital strategy in the future,” summarizes Zeumer. It won’t stop at the Sächsische Zeitung. Snaque is already in talks with other publishers and will continue to expand its customer base in the coming months. Interested publishers can now arrange a demo and a no-obligation consultation via the website

Not all readers are the same. A realization that many publishers are making right at their paywall. This is where the wheat is separated from the chaff: up to 95 percent of readers leave the website again as soon as they encounter a paywall. They are casual readers for whom a subscription is not an option. The reasons for this are diverse. What casual readers have in common is that they are almost impossible to monetize with a pure paywall subscription approach. But how does that happen? Isn’t it worth it to the readers to pay for the content?

High bounce rate at the paywall? Subscription fatigue and lack of customer centricity as the cause

A study by the Reuters Institute found that readers are subject to a certain subscription fatigue and are only willing to subscribe to a maximum of one newspaper. After all, most already have a music streaming subscription as well as a video streaming subscription. Who is willing and able to pay triple-digit amounts for media subscriptions every month? The user behavior also contrasts strongly with the offer. Many read from a variety of sources, as they come across certain articles on social media or become aware of an article via search. Up to now, publishers have found it difficult to make these readers an adequate offer. One solution to this problem is the integration of a paywall extension. This means an offer that goes beyond the pure subscription offer and enables casual readers to consume premium content without directly subscribe. A few publishers offer micropayments as a subscription alternative. However, this has not prevailed. Instead, non-publisher providers are making use of the individual sale of publisher content on their platforms. However, this is also contrary to the actual user behavior. Because having to open an app every time in order to then buy an item represents a media disruption that is not very user-friendly. Direct solutions from publishers would be better. However, so far these are rare and not widely available.

The Snaque Playwall as a solution

Another paywall extension option is offered by Snaque with its Playwall. With the paywall widget of the same name, publishers now have the opportunity to offer their casual readers premium content without a subscription. This is made possible by the counter-financing provided by brands that sponsor the so-called snaque bars. To activate an article, readers simply have to answer a few questions via a snaque bar that opens direct at the paywall, interact with the brand and can thus also access paywall content. The publisher thus has the opportunity to monetize casual readers, convince them of their offer and turn them into loyal customers in the long term. Either as loyal casual readers who keep generating revenue through the paywall extension, or as loyal customers who decide to become subscribers after consuming initially counter-funded premium content.

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Last week, as part of the Media Founders Program, we presented Snaque to an eight-member jury consisting of experts from academia and business development. The goal was to be accepted into the second phase of the program. Now about a week later came the happy news: It worked! We become part of the MediaTech Hub Accelerator! Wohooo!

The initiators of the Accelerator include the University of Potsdam, the Hasso Plattner Institute and the Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF. The Accelerator Program is supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labor and Energy of the State of Brandenburg, the Investment Bank of the State of Brandenburg, the State Capital Potsdam and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection as part of the de:hub funding program.

Snaque is now part of the Accelerator from July until the end of the year. The dedicated team around Erdinç Koc, Head of MTH Accelerator Babelsberg and Susanne Zöchling, Project Manager MTH Accelerator Babelsberg will be there to support us with advice and support during this time.

We are looking forward to the program and the exchange with all the other participating startups!