What’s the Role of Captive Portal in WiFi Monetization?

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WiFi monetization has been the buzz for a while now. Beyond the technology features, WiFi monetization is a sound business strategy, one in which the business executives expect a specific ROI. WiFi monetization realm is full of buzzwords. This article focuses on elaborating captive portal and content promotion and its role in WiFi monetization.

Role of Captive Portal in WiFi Monetization

WiFi Monetization

WiFi monetization is an ability of a venue business to drive incremental business from their customers by engaging them over the free guest WiFi. A sound WiFi monetization strategy is a blend of 3 marketing strategies, involving engagement with customers at the login, in-session, and after they log out. WiFi monetization includes knowing and using the customer data and their behavior to engage them contextually through promoted content. In this post, we focus on the login and in-session engagement parts of the WiFi monetization strategy.

Captive Portal

Most customers when they walk into any venue, they have a mobile phone, laptop, or tablet, searching for available free WiFi hotspot. WiFi monetization is about contextually engaging with customers during each of the interactions. The first point of communication in this customer journey is when the customer is looking to join the free guest WiFi at the venue. At guest WiFi login, the WiFi monetization solution shows up a splash page on the customer’s device as soon as they connect to the guest WiFi. 

The splash page is the captive portal of the venue’s guest WiFi. The job of the captive portal is to intelligently collect user information for better-targeted marketing promotions, which in turn helps effective WiFi monetization. A captive portal is one of the most critical aspects and entry-points to the WiFi monetization. The information captured on the captive portal is useful to engage with customers during in-session content promotions, post-logout email marketing as well as on the captive portal itself.

Customized Welcome Message

Showing a captive portal with a personalized welcome message as soon as the customer connects with the guest WiFi is the best practice in WiFi monetization for better engagement. For a revisiting customer, a welcome message with the name of the customer helps engage deeper. You can customize the splash page by using your own brand guidelines such as colors, logo, font size, background image. Customers feel familiar when they see venue’s brand reappear on the welcome message.  

Social Login/ Custom Registration/ OTP/ Opt-ins

CaptiveXS Captive Portal WiFi Monetization The second important component of the captive portal splash page is the user login. Users have multiple options to login. Users may use their social login (such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) so that they don’t have to register separately for using the guest WiFi. While social login offers a quick and convenient way for customers to get access to guest WiFi, it provides the venues with more detailed profile information of the customer. Knowing the social profile of the customers help venues customize the promotions that they show each customer. In addition to social logins, the customers can also use a custom registration fields. It is possible for captive portals to show completely customized registration forms so that venues can capture customer data that will help them better engage with customers. 

For additional security and verification, venues may employ an SMS OTP based verification process on the guest WiFi captive portal. Businesses can also take an explicit opt-in from the customers in terms of these age criterion or having users to permit the venue to use their social data.

EULA Acceptance

EULA is the third important aspect of a captive portal. EULA is Important from the compliance point of view so that the customers agree to the terms of usage of the free guest WiFi service and usage of their behavioral data for personalized WiFi marketing.  

Monetization Options on Captive Portal

The captive portal itself has multiple WiFi monetization and WiFi marketing options. Some of these are direct customer engagement driving a clear call to action while others are more towards customer interaction.

Display and Video Ads

Video Ads Display Ads on Captive Portal CaptiveXS Venues can insert display banner or video ad content after the login step. Customers have to consume the promoted ad content to proceed further onto their browsing session. The guest WiFi solution can target specific ad content based on filters (such as age, gender, location, birthday, zip code, past preferences) so that the ad content is more contextual and engaging for the customers on captive portal, this helps in driving better engagement which in turn helps in better WiFi monetization. For example, an alcohol ad content is for customers aged 21 and above. The age information is available from the social login data. Guest WiFi solution can use social data to promote the alcohol ad content only to those customers who are 21 years of age and above. Ads insertion on the captive portal offer a premium advertising revenue opportunity for venues, contributing to the overall WiFi monetization.  


Guest WiFi solutions can incorporate surveys as part of the captive portal content so that they can learn from customers’ views, experiences, and feedback on specific parts of the business. Customers are more likely to take surveys just after login to guest WiFi since they know that they are only a step away from the Internet. Surveys are an indirect mode of WiFi monetization since surveys help businesses better their services, products based on customer feedback.

Login Tiers

Tiered Login - Paypal Payment Captive Portal CaptiveXS Venues can enable different workflows for different customers by allowing multiple tiers of login to the guest WiFi. For example, there could be a free tier and paid-tier of Internet access on your guest WiFi. The workflow for both of them differ in terms of Internet speed, available time to browse the Internet, and the browsing experience with or without ads. So, for example,  for a paid tier, the customers can get access to high-speed Internet for unlimited minutes without ads or surveys.


Payment is an integral part of the captive portal. While venues offer free WiFi, they may offer paid tiers of Internet access on the captive portal for faster speed and longer session times, for example. Businesses can enable payments via PayPal or voucher system on the guest WiFi system. Enabling seamless payment system is vital to the success of WiFi monetization.  

In-session Content Promotion

Most WiFi monetization technologies would stop at the captive portal. In-session content insertion is essential for effective WiFi monetization because this is another important marketing touchpoint  where venues can use the data that they collect from the captive portal to engage with their WiFi users. 3 to 4 incremental impressions every 30 mins in-session provide fantastic returns from the guest WiFi marketing. In-session content insertion is supposed to be contextual, personalized, and relevant, and this is where the data-driven promotions become helpful. 

WiFi monetization is an activity that involves building multiple avenues of commerce for venues, and all of it begins with data-driven captive portal and in-session content promotion enablement. A technological consideration that is critical for large venue businesses is that it should be possible to perform configurations of the captive portal and content promotion from a single cloud-managed dashboard. 

CaptiveXS has been enabling effective WiFi monetization through secure and engaging customer experience for venues of all sizes, connect with us today to assess your needs of WiFi monetization.


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