Publishers Eager for Subscribers Increasingly See High Value in Newsletter Referral Programs

The Takeaways:

  • The Hustle, Morning Brew, and TheSkimm have all used newsletter referral programs to great effect, reaching 1 million, 2 million, and 7 million subscribers respectively.
  • Adam Ryan, president of The Hustle said: “The lifetime value of a referral program participant is multiple times higher than the average subscriber. The open rate is double for a referred subscriber compared to an average subscriber.”
  • There is “a lot of potential for referral programs and I feel it’s an undervalued growth channel for newsletter writers,” said Martijn de Kuijper, founder of editorial newsletter tool Revue. “These readers are highly engaged and have a close relationship and are thus more likely to become an advocate and refer others,” he added.

What it means:

With the end of the third-party cookies on the horizon, there is the added value of referral programs collecting more first-party data about readers, said Kerel Cooper, senior vice president of global marketing at LiveIntent.

“There is the short term value of growing your subscription list, which leads to greater monetization, ” said Cooper. “But the long term play is that the clock is ticking on the third-party cookie and if you’re building your first-party database with email at the centre,” then they’ll be in a stronger position than most.

Low Cost, High Return

At Morning Brew, in exchange for 10 referrals, readers gain access to an exclusive “insider” community via a Facebook group where members discuss the latest stories, share events and pursue career opportunities.

Senior Product Lead Tyler Denk said: “We have provided value in the form of premium content and access an exclusive community…all at the cost of $1.25 or a $0.25 CPA (cost per acquisition) for 5 new subscribers to the Brew.”

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