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How To Spy on Newsletters To Discover Their Revenue and Growth Sources

Find out how much money newsletters make and how they grow

Welcome to Newsletter Operator!

In today’s edition:

  • How to spy on newsletters to find their revenue and growth sources

  • Newsletter news: A $24M acquisition, fundraising, hires, and more

  • How newsletters are using Refind to grow on auto-pilot

  • And much more…

Deep Dive

How To Spy on Newsletters and Discover Their Revenue and Growth Sources

Here are 5 ways to spy on other newsletters so you can discover how much money they make and how they get subscribers:

1/ Newsletter Ad Marketplaces

With tools and platforms like Passionfroot, SwapStack, and Paved you can get in-depth information on 100+ newsletters

On these platforms you can see:

  • Newsletter list size, open rate, CTR, and ad CTR

  • Audience demographics

  • Ad / sponsorship rates

  • And more

Pick a newsletter you want to spy on.

To find out their ad revenue look at:

  • Average price per ad

  • How often they're sending

  • How often their ad inventory is sold

  • How many ad placements per newsletter

Use this formula to estimate their monthly ad revenue:

Sends per month x percent of ad inventory sold x average price per ads

(For example: 20 x 80% x $3500 = $56,000 monthly ad revenue)

2/ Find Their “Advertise", “Sponsor”, Booking Page, or Media Kit

If the newsletters you want to spy on aren’t using any sponsorship platforms or marketplaces, try this.

  • Look for their “Advertise", “Sponsor”, or booking page on their website

  • If this info isn't on their website, complete their sponsorship form or email their sales team to get it.

After that you’ll have access to their ad packages, placements, price per ad, list size, open rate, CTR, and ad clicks.

Then you can use the same formula to estimate their ad revenue.

Let’s break down how to do this with an example…

I used Passionfroot’s Creator Gallery to find Superhuman AI’s ad booking page.

Superhuman AI has 450k subscribers and sends a newsletter 5 days per week.

They have 2 ad placements per send.

  • 1 main ad for $3599 each

  • 1 featured ad for $1599 each

  • That’s $5198 in ad inventory they can sell every send

Let’s assume they only book 80% of their ad inventory.

Based on our formula…

(Sends per month x percent of ad inventory sold x average price per ad)

…Superhuman makes $83,168 per month in ad revenue.

Here's how you find out how they grow their list

Now you've got a good estimate of their ad revenue, let’s find out how newsletters get subscribers.

3/ Use Similar Web

Install their browser extension and pick a newsletter to spy on.

Here you'll see:

  • Top traffic channels

  • Top Keywords

  • Referral traffic

  • Social media traffic

  • And more

This is how you analyze the results:

Top traffic channels: Direct is the #1 channel for newsletters (because traffic from email to a website is direct)

Look at the #2 channel. This is their #1 marketing channel.

  • If it's Social, and they have a large following they're growing organically from those social media accounts.

  • If it's Social, and they do not have a large following they're probably using social ads to grow.

  • If it's Referral, they probably use affiliates or content syndication.

Top keywords:

If their top keywords are not branded keywords they're buying Google ads on those search terms or ranking for them.

Referral Traffic:

If they have most of their referral traffic from 1-2 sites those could be affiliates or sponsored posts.

This also could be a site where they're syndicating content.

Social Media Traffic:

If most of their social media traffic is coming from 1 platform, they're probably running ads there or they have a large following on that platform.

4/ Facebook Ad Library

If a page has 10+ active ads FB ads are a big growth channel for them.

You can also get a sense of how well their ads are doing if you get targeted by them. If an ad has 500+ likes or 100k+ views, it's working well.

5/ Interviews with Founders

This one is simple: Find the founder, search their name on Google and podcast players, and then listen and learn.


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