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How to Increase Acquisition, Engagement & Revenue with Paid Enrollment

In an era defined by convenience, connectivity, personalization and instant gratification, it’s little wonder that subscription-based services have transformed today’s consumer culture.

What began as a strategy for newspapers and magazines, the subscription model has been adopted by retail and service providers alike to reach a broader audience, bringing in a steady stream of revenue and giving rise to a new era of customer loyalty.

This new model paves the way for paid enrollments, which are limited-time subscription-based incentives that can help you reach your loyalty goals faster.

ebbo’s 2023 Paid Enrollment Data Study delves into the most recent statistics to gain insight into how these tactics can reshape your brand’s relationship with your consumers — and how you can put paid enrollments to work.

Table of Contents

Subscription Loyalty Key Findings

  • 93% of consumers belong to at least one subscription, making it clear that the subscription economy is here to stay.
  • 60% of consumers will likely join a brand’s free loyalty program if they can take advantage of paid enrollment offers valuable to them.
  • 71% of consumers will recommend subscription products to friends and family if they are excited by them.
  • 56% of consumers agree that a limited offer encourages them to act, showing that FOMO is a powerful driver.
  • 70% of consumers are interested in discounts on purchases when it comes to paid enrollment offers.

Subscription Loyalty and the Rise of Paid Enrollment Offers

Our current research outlines a massive shift in the number of consumers using subscriptions and their spending habits based on age groups. The FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) plays a role in why consumers are drawn to limited-time offers like paid enrollments.

You’ll see how the popularity of subscriptions and the psychological driver of FOMO work together to attract consumers to paid enrollment offers.

A Paradigm Shift in Loyalty

According to our study, a staggering 93% of consumers have embraced the subscription model and 68% of that group belongs to multiple subscriptions.

This overwhelming adoption speaks volumes about today’s consumers and highlights a preference for convenience and personalized service. This signals a profound shift in the way people expect access to and consume goods and services.

Chart showing annual spend on subscriptions for U.S. consumers.

Spending Habits in the Subscription Era

Despite the popularity of the subscription model, the financial commitment varies greatly—but on average 77% of consumers spend up to $499 annually on subscriptions. Here’s how it breaks down financially for U.S. consumers:

These spending habits show no sign of waning as 41% of consumers intend to add more subscriptions in the next year.

Chart showing the psychological impact of FOMO on consumers

FOMO: A Catalyst for Action

When it comes to consumer behavior, don’t underestimate the power of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Half of subscribers admit to experiencing FOMO, particularly in response to limited-time or limited-quantity offers.

This psychological driver shouldn’t be ignored, as 56% of consumers agreed that a limited offer encourages them to act.

Enter Paid Enrollments

Within this context, the addition of paid enrollments can be a winning strategy.

A paid enrollment is a limited-time, subscription-based loyalty amplifier that gives customers a memorable experience — from product discounts, the chance to win or buy exclusive items to members-only or time-sensitive offers — in exchange for a fee.

This approach aligns seamlessly with the allure of subscription services and harnesses the power of FOMO, creating a value proposition that’s hard to turn down.

Screenshot of Taco Bell Taco Lover's Pass

To celebrate National Taco Day in 2022, Taco Bell reintroduced its digital taco paid enrollment, Taco Lovers Pass.

Available exclusively to Taco Bell Rewards members, the offer was available for one day, Oct. 4. For a one-time fee of $10, members could purchase the Taco Lovers Pass through the app which would allow them to redeem any one of seven tacos a day for 30 days.

This is a great example of a paid enrollment that was on-brand, fun and engaging — and exclusively available to loyalty program members.

Download the 2023 ebbo Paid Enrollment Data Study.

Find this article interesting? Download the full 2023 Paid Enrollment Data Study here.

How Paid Enrollments Add Value to Loyalty Strategies

Value is at the heart of you earning long-term customer loyalty from your customers. Statistics show that more than half of consumers would participate in a subscription-based paid enrollment offer if they saw value in the benefits.

Most consumers would participate in paid enrollments if family or friends recommended them.

Chart showing consumers' perception of paid enrollment value

The Allure of Value

According to the data study, a key insight emerged: 54% of consumers expressed their willingness to participate in a subscription-based paid enrollment program if the benefits were deemed valuable.

For example, these benefits could include exclusive members-only discounts on purchases for a month, access to exclusive VIP events, entry into exciting sweepstakes, free gifts or a spot in line to pre-order a new product before it is released to the general market.

This statistic underscores the crucial role that perceived value plays in influencing consumer decisions, which paves the way for you to leverage this enthusiasm to drive member acquisition.

Even more compelling, the data revealed a symbiotic relationship between loyalty programs and paid enrollments.

Sixty percent of consumers said they were more likely to join a brand’s free loyalty program if it allowed them to take advantage of paid enrollments that offered them valuable rewards or benefits, indicating a direct impact on new member acquisition.

For existing members, the stats were equally powerful.

Consider 64% of existing loyalty members would be willing to sign up for a paid enrollment if it gave them more valuable rewards or benefits in their program beyond what the average member or customer receives.

And value perception goes a long way when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing.

Seventy-one percent of consumers are likely to recommend subscription products they are excited about to friends and family, while 68% of consumers are likely to join a paid enrollment program for a brand they like if a trusted friend or family member recommended it to them.

Getting Paid Enrollment Right from the Consumer POV

How do you entice your customers to participate in paid enrollments?

Start with offering them something that will save them money because that is the No. 1 factor that motivates consumers to participate in a paid enrollment. But as much as saving customers money is the top motivator, they also want access to members-only events and surprise rewards.

Chart showing the most valuable paid enrollment benefits to consumers

What Intrigues Consumers?

While the data behind paid enrollment is impressive, 72% of consumers were not currently participating in any paid enrollment offers. Seventy-eight percent of consumers who aren’t participating in any said they’re likely to opt in if the paid enrollment offer was exciting or valuable.

So, what does it take to get paid enrollment right?

Let’s take a closer look at what’s working — and what isn’t.

Money Talks, But So Does Delight

Considering consumers responded overwhelmingly that discounts on purchases and shipping were most important (at 70% and 68%, respectively), saving money is the No. 1 motivating factor when it comes to enticing customers.

But 28% of consumers placed value on members-only experiences, 24% were enticed by surprise rewards and 20% were drawn to prize-winning opportunities, showing that elements of exclusivity and delight hold aggregate value within a paid enrollment program.

Chart showing the biggest reasons consumers haven't signed up for paid enrollments

Capturing Paid Enrollment Conversion

When it comes to conversion, our data showed convenience and understanding customer needs were significant roadblocks, with 40% reporting uninteresting benefits and a cumulative 71% reporting effort, inconvenience and annoyance would prevent them from signing up for a paid enrollment.

When asked about the most enticing incentives and categories for paid enrollments, savings topped most consumers’ lists.

Seventy-four percent of respondents indicated that discounts on products would be an incentive to sign up for a paid enrollment and 57%, 45% and 44% would be persuaded by paid enrollments on groceries, gas, and food and beverage, respectively.

Turning Shoppers Into Paid Enrollment Subscribers

Paid enrollments are powerful tools and adding them to your brand can be exponentially beneficial.

Aside from providing a steady stream of incremental revenue, they can drive program acquisition, re-engage your existing loyalty program members in a meaningful way and encourage your most loyal customers to become brand advocates.

Paid enrollments can increase product purchase frequency, promote brand partnerships and sponsorships and encourage early adoption of new products.

Considering the ubiquity of subscription programs across the consumer landscape, customer sentiment is ripe for adopting paid enrollments into their spending habits, so long as the benefits offer value and excitement — and don’t make things too complicated.

The beauty of a paid enrollment is that it’s not a huge lift when compared to building a full-blown loyalty program. In many cases, a paid enrollment can be added in as little as 60 days, which means brands can start generating customer engagement and incremental revenue quickly.

No matter what your program goals are, from acquisition to engagement to purchase frequency, paid enrollments can empower your brand’s loyalty strategy — and keep your customers coming back for more.

If you’re interested in learning more about adding paid enrollment to your loyalty strategy, contact us here.

Paul Wolfer

Paul is our Senior Manager, B2B Marketing. He works closely with the leadership team on strategic positioning, messaging and branding. When he's not posting on LinkedIn or working on the newest data study, he can usually be found adventuring to breweries or attempting to learn a new song on his guitar.

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ebbo™ is an all-in-one loyalty company. With our data driven strategy, full-service approach, and the unwavering support of the people behind the platform, our dedicated team will work with you to understand your loyalty goals, innovate solutions and help you build customer engagement on repeat.

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