April 28, 2023

Cost of sponsorships across various newsletters.

👋 Hello newsletter enthusiasts,

Monetizing your newsletter through sponsorships can be tough, especially when it comes to determining how much to charge.

To help, we conducted a deep dive across 10 different newsletters with subscriber counts ranging from ~3,000 to ~1M+ across various industries.

We want to provide a resource to assist you with sponsorship pricing.

Researching rates of comparable newsletters in your niche can help you establish a competitive price that reflects the value you can offer to advertisers.

Keep in mind that there isn't a one-size-fits-all formula for calculating how much to charge.

We hope this information provides you with more insight to make data-informed decisions.

🐾 Thank you for reading, stay pawsome.

🔑 Key observations

The Newsletter Newsletter
  • There isn't a one-size-fits-all formula for calculating how much to charge.
  • Open Rate remains a common metric. Open Rate is helpful, but just not as reliable due to Apple Mail Privacy Protection. Consider blending different pricing methods for greater accuracy.
  • Include estimated ad clicks. This helps to set expectations for both you and the sponsor. If possible, include estimated ad clicks for your various ad units. For example, we noticed that ad clicks were somewhat general (50-1,500). Is this for all ads in general? The “Main” ad? The “Classified” ad?
  • Clarify ad terminology: Tomato, tomato? A “Primary” sponsorship in one newsletter might be called a “Featured” sponsorship in another. To ensure that you and the advertiser are on the same page, use clear terminology and include an example.
  • There isn’t a clear correlation between subscriber count and cost. This might be surprising if you think: The higher number of subscribers, the more expensive a sponsorship. Remember, there are a lot of factors that go into pricing a sponsorship, such as Click-Through rate, audience engagement, industry niche, etc.
  • Regardless of subscriber count, there seems to be a “crest” for engagement. Even though you may have 100,000 subscribers, there seems to be a “crest” or a limit for engagement. This might have to do with the content of the ad and the audience of the newsletter. It also might have to do with reader sentiment. Maybe readers notice it’s an ad and gloss over it.
  • Adjust rates and continue to ask sponsors for feedback on the process. As you continue to learn more about your newsletter’s performance and the advertising landscape, you can adjust pricing accordingly.

Primary sponsorship

To find a level set across newsletters and ad units, we define a “Primary” sponsorship as one that may have a logo in the email header, or be prominently featured. If there are multiple ad units available for sponsorship, this tends to be the most expensive one.

The Newsletter Newsletter

These ad units varied from $262-$18,000, with an average ~$3,635.

Again, the subscriber count, audience engagement, industry niche, etc. for the newsletter factor into the cost of a sponsorship.

From the 10 newsletters we analyzed, their Open Rate varied from 45% to 57%. Again, take with a grain of salt due to Apple Mail Privacy Protection.

Let’s drill down into a more reliable metric: Clicks.

Estimated sponsor clicks

Some newsletters provided an estimated number of clicks for ads.

The Newsletter Newsletter

Relevancy of the ad plays a big role and there isn’t a formula to identify the exact number of clicks an ad will receive, but if you run ads for a bit and are ensuring the content is aligning with your audience, you will start to see a ballpark range. This will take time and learnings will be found.

Let’s dive deeper among some metrics. We’ll start with some definitions to ensure we’re on the same page:

📚 Definitions

Click-Through Rate = The # of Clicks / # of emails delivered.

Since we don’t know the # of emails delivered, we will calculate a Click-to-Open Rate.

Click-to-Open Rate = # of Clicks / # of emails opens.

We are able to calculate this for some newsletters because they shared the number of subscribers and the Open Rate. Some newsletters also shared Click-Through Rate or # of estimated Clicks for an ad, which is helpful.

Ad Click-Through Rate = # of Clicks / # of Impressions or Opens. We acknowledge Click-Through Rate can be confusing since CTR in email is different than Ad CTR. We hope these definitions helps!

CPM (Cost-per-1,000 impressions) = Price of sponsorship / # of subscribers x 1,000.

CPC (Cost-per-Click) = The cost-per-click. For the newsletters that provided an estimated number of clicks it was oftentimes as a range (2,500-4,500 estimated clicks).

This helps understand the “floor” and “ceiling” of engagement. For our visuals, we went with an average of this range.

As we highlighted in our guide to sponsorships:

Factors to consider when setting your pricing:

  • Subscriber count
  • Open rate
  • Click-Through rate
  • Audience engagement
  • Industry niche
  • Exclusivity of ad placement
  • Ad format (text, image, native content, etc.)

📧 Across newsletters ranges

*Some newsletters were not included in the below calculations because essential metrics were not available.

  • Email Click-to-Open Rate: 2%-52%.
  • Ad Click-Through Rate: 0.07% to 9.93%.
  • CPM: $9.99-$87.33.
  • CPC: $0.88-$29.98.

Whoa. That’s a big range.

Let’s bring in some visuals.

Number of subscribers and the cost of a Primary sponsorship

The Newsletter Newsletter

From left to right, we start with the highest number of subscribers and get smaller as we go right.

As you can see, TLDR has a high number of subscribers (~1M) and is the most expensive (~$18,000).

Two that jump out are Harry’s Newsletter (Marketing Examples) and Houck’s Newsletter.

The spikes reflect a high cost for their Primary sponsorship, and it is not correlated with their subscriber count.

The Newsletter Newsletter

Looking at the number of subscribers compared to the cost of a Primary sponsorship, they tend to float in the first quadrant. TLDR is an outlier being at the top right-hand corner of the chart.

Taking out TLDR from the chart:

The Newsletter Newsletter

Zooming in…

The Newsletter Newsletter

Most newsletters float in this first quadrant with a Primary sponsorship cost below $1,000 and less than 50,000 subscribers.

As you know, subscriber count is not the only thing that factors into sponsorship pricing.

Let’s keep going.

CPM across newsletters

The Newsletter Newsletter

The chart continues to read from highest subscriber count on the left to lowest on the right.

The cost per 1,000 impressions varies.

Harry’s Newsletter (Marketing Examples) and Houck’s Newsletter have some of the highest CPMs.

JustAnotherPM is the highest at ~$87, Superhuman is the lowest at ~$9.99.

Visualizing CPM, we can see that it varies:

The Newsletter Newsletter

Zooming in…

The Newsletter Newsletter

Most ads had a CPM in this quadrant.

Primary sponsorship cost less than ~$2,500 with a CPM ~$25.

This was regardless of the # of email subscribers. They tend to float in this quadrant.

CPC across newsletters

The Newsletter Newsletter

The chart continues to read from highest subscriber count on the left to lowest on the right.

Several newsletters provided a range for their estimated number of clicks. We took an average of the range for CPC calculation.

The Cost-per-Click for some newsletters could not be calculated because an estimated number of clicks was not available.

This calculation is an estimation since we don’t know how the ad will perform, but based on the cost of the Primary sponsorship and the estimated number of clicks an ad may receive. This results in our CPC.

Ad CTR (average) and the cost of a Primary sponsorship across newsletters

The Newsletter Newsletter

Ad Click-Through Rate can be helpful to determine the likelihood of someone clicking an ad.

It’s calculated by taking the # of Clicks / # of email opens. We made estimates based off of the Open Rate provided. The # of Clicks was provided as a range, so we took the average of the range.

Zooming in…

The Newsletter Newsletter

Most ads had a Click-Through rate in this quadrant.

The Primary sponsorship cost less than ~$2,500 with an Ad Click-Through rate ~2%.

This was regardless of the # of email subscribers. They tend to float in this quadrant.

Estimated sponsor clicks (average) and the cost of a Primary sponsorship across newsletters

The Newsletter Newsletter

Zooming in…

The Newsletter Newsletter

Another interesting observation is that for the newsletters that provided their estimated number of clicks for an ad, they tend to be in this quadrant.

Charging ~$2,500 or less, and receiving less than 1,050 clicks on an ad.

This was regardless of subscriber count.

For newsletter ranging from 3,000 to over a million in subscriber count, the idea that a lot of them float in this quadrant is interesting.

It could mean that there are only so many clicks an ad will probably yield.

This could be because of reader savviness.

They know it’s an ad, and they tend to gloss over them. Or there are always readers that tend to engage with ads throughout newsletters. But there seems to be a “crest” for the amount of engagement on an email ad.

➕ Additional observations

CPM and CPC can be helpful metrics for a sponsor if they’re advertising across various channels.

This can vary depending on industry, spend, location, ad format, etc. when looking at benchmarks:

If we compare to Google Ads, according to Store Growers:

“On average, advertisers pay $2.69 per click on Search Ads, while the average CPC for Display Ads is $0.63.”

A key metric to know is the actual conversion from a channel. Which we don’t.

CPC and CPM is one way to try and look at advertising spend across channels.

Again, a lot of factors at play.

If you noticed the CPC in Superhuman is $15, you may think that’s expensive compared to Google Ads.

If you peel the onion one layer more, you’ll discover that a sponsorship in a newsletter may give you less clicks, but might convert more compared to other channels.

Overall, these metrics help newsletter operators and advertisers make informed decisions about ad campaigns, to optimize ad content and targeting and to achieve the best possible ROI on advertising spend. While hopefully providing value to readers!

Calculating CPM and CPC for email newsletter ads can be tough since subscriber counts, Open rates, and Click-Through rates can vary greatly.

However, we did find that the average CPM for a Primary sponsorship is ~$35, and the average CPC ~$5.50.

Interestingly, we also found that email newsletters tend to offer more flexible and negotiable rates compared to social media ads. This is likely due to the fact that email newsletters are often owned and operated by individuals, rather than large corporations.

Another important point to consider was the lack of transparency in terms of metrics provided by some newsletters. While some newsletters provided detailed metrics on Open rates and Click-Through rates, others only provided vague estimates or none at all.

📣 Shoutout to the 10 newsletters we featured

If you would like to explore our Figma board which highlights the various newsletters above, along with example sponsorships, rates, etc. Click the link below!

Take me to the Figma board!

Want us to deep dive on a newsletter? Or maybe feature your newsletter in an upcoming newsletter? Email us.

🎾 Fetchworthy Finds

  • We don’t need to tell you twice, but dogs are amazing.
  • “Every year you work, you work towards something. Towards a goal... It's not a failure. It's steps to success.
  • Did you know April 23 was Email Day? A day for emails!? It’s in honor of Ray Tomlinson and his creation of email.

🐶 Pawsitive vibes

💌 Thanks for joining the pack of newsletter enthusiasts! Keep on reading, writing and sharing your newsletters with the world.

Thanks @YongSooChung!

🎉 Have a great weekend!

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