In this week’s newsletter I discuss:
Bots inflating newsletter metrics
Sparkloop about to pay six figures a month to newsletters
An awesomely simple way to deal with sponsors
🤖 Attack of the Bots?
There’s been interesting discussions on newsletter Twitter over the last week about the impact of newsletter bots on your list.
First up, Manu from Stacked Marketer posted an epic tweet about lessons from selling over $1.5M+ of newsletter sponsorships. In my opinion, no-one packages ads better than Manu, and I’ve certainly modelled this approach with Wisdom Media.
Manu stated some potential red flags for sponsors when looking at the quoted open and click rates:
a) Super high open rates for a free newsletter, like 60%+, is a red flag for it likely being a list full of disengaged Apple Mail Privacy Protection users.
(That means Apple loads the open pixel, but the user never sees it and never cares.)
Reasonable open rates are between 40 and 55%, depending on geo, & list cleaning processes.
b) High CTR. A newsletter that shows you 10%+ CTR (not CTOR) at a 10,000+ size (so 1,000 unique clicks on a 10,000 list) is questionable.
Possible but questionable. Let me explain.
Many spam filters and firewalls open and click at least one link in every single email that arrives in their inbox.
I replied arguing that due to Apple Mail’s policy, I think you should actually aim for open rates higher than 55%. And also that I have subscribers who open every email and who click exactly 5 links every time and whether the subscriber in the image below is a bot:
60% only kind of fits if you keep all the inactive Apple Mail Privacy Protection users.
Effectively, you're still keeping inactive subscribers.
And yeah, those clicks are often bots behind corporate firewalls.
This newsletter has a 64% open rate and an 8% click through rate so I wanted to check that you, dear reader, are not a bot. So I created segments in beehiiv:
I found that only 0.6% of subscribers open every email, and only 50% of those open and click every email. So if you are a bot, then you’re welcome to stay :)
And Manu followed up with another tweet yesterday saying that his Stacked Marketer generates significantly more clicks than much bigger newsletters who do not attempt to remove bots:
I’m certainly aware of big list newsletters who have been getting poor results for sponsors.
💸 Six Figure Recommendations
Louis, the co-founder of Sparkloop, confirmed that its Partner Network is guaranteed to pay out over six figures next month to multiple newsletter operators that run paid recommendations:
I actually met with Louis IRL at newsletter dinner in London last night and learned more about what it takes to earn such a signifiant payout.
Duuce is the #1 marketplace for buying & selling newsletters. See what your newsletter is worth with their free valuation calculator. Check it out
The Newsletter Is The Business is everything I know about launching, scaling and selling editorial newsletter businesses. Check it out
☝️ One More Thing
So he worked with Adam Tossell who built what looks an awesome and simple way to book one or multiple ad spots, without the need for any communication with the client:
AI Authority replied asking about the need for vetting scams, and I love Ben’s reply of a human actually has to run/pay for the ad:
This may work in the AI niche, but would not work for an NFT newsletter where 80%+ of potential sponsors will be scams/rugs.
And Michele from the sponsorship management tool Sponsy replied asking how do you handle bad copy to which Ben replied it’s not his job:
I think this is a really refreshing approach.
I personally don’t do this with my newsletter as I run native ads where I write the copy and I’m very fussy about vetting sponsors. In fact it needs to be someone I’ve worked with or a platform/tool/service I use, or I will just promote my own products.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this email is business advice and I am not a professional business adviser. I send weekly updates on the newsletter market - consider it informational and for entertainment purposes only. This newsletter is monetized through sponsorship and product revenue. There are no affiliate links in this issue.