Email Newsletters

Are Newsletters the New Homepage? What Publishers Should Know

Does it feel like your inbox is overflowing with newsletters? You’re not alone. For many news publishers, newsletters have become an incredible revenue driver.

Surging reader interest, coupled with ample opportunities for monetization, is leading publishers to launch more and more email newsletters.

Email newsletters give avid news readers access to information throughout the day. Most newsletters go out at the same time each day or week, so readers know when to expect the newsletter in their inboxes. That sort of routine builds habit and increases reader loyalty, and data has shown that it can be an effective tool for reducing subscriber churn.

If publishers can get readers to make a habit out of reading their newsletters, then they boost their ability to monetize across all channels. That’s because newsletter readers don’t just stay in their email inboxes. Readers click on the links in newsletters and they read articles on the publisher’s website. They also engage with ads at higher rates than typical website visitors.

Whereas an online news website may once have had a single weekly recap newsletter, that same publisher might now have multiple newsletters going out at daily and weekly intervals. Newsletters are focused on specific sections of the publication (like sports or entertainment), targeted at certain groups of readers (like paying subscribers), and designed to bring attention to the top stories of the week.

From a financial perspective, data shows that newsletters yield a $41 to $1 return on investment (ROI). With that kind of power, it’s no wonder so many online publishers are changing up their revenue models and bringing newsletters into the fold. Newsletters benefit publishers who rely primarily on advertising revenue just as much as publishers who rely on paid subscriptions.

Although online publishers are taking the lead when it comes to email newsletters, they are not alone. Legacy print media companies have increased production of newsletters in the past few years, as well.

According to new data from LiveIntent, the newsletter categories that have shot up the highest this year are:

  • Shopping (103%)
  • Home and Garden (55%)
  • Business (31%)

LiveIntent aggregated data from the performance of 2,500 publishers and brands from early June and compared the data to the period right before the Covid-19 pandemic began. What the company found is that during state shutdowns, there was an increase in email open rates and ad engagement. Publishers with newsletters focused on shopping, home and garden, and style saw the greatest gains, with open rates that increased more than 20%.

LiveIntent also looked at ad categories. The company found that newsletters in the family and parenting category saw a 450% increase in click-through-rates during the Covid-19 shutdowns earlier this year. Newsletters in the arts and entertainment category saw a 58% increase.

One of the strategies that publishers are using to amplify the results of their email newsletters is to add advertising to their newsletters. Most email publishing platforms include templates designed for news publishers, and those templates usually include space for above-the-fold ads. Popular advertising platforms include ad formats for email newsletters, as well.

Beyond typical display ads, publishers can use newsletters as a place to run native content that’s created by their own editorial teams. Advertisers will pay a premium for this type of content, especially when they are working with a publisher who has a large base of email subscribers.

If you would like to learn more about generating revenue from email newsletters, reach out to our team at Web Publisher PRO and ask about our custom monetization strategies for digital publishers.