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Takeaways and Predictions From Beehiiv’s 2024 State of Newsletters Report

6 takeaways from the report you can use to grow your business.

Deep Dive

Takeaways From Beehiiv’s 2024 State of Email Newsletters Report

beehiiv released an awesome report this month breaking down data from their platform and trends in the industry.

There’s a lot of important data inside. That’s why I’m sharing 6 takeaways from the report you can use to grow your business.

Plus, my personal takes and predictions from the data.

Overall Newsletter Engagement Statistics

These are the average engagement stats of all beehiiv newsletters.

Compared to other ESPs, their numbers are great. beehiiv says alternative email platforms have an average open rate of 19% to 23%.

That said, you should not be using these numbers as a goal for your newsletter.

These are average stats. The average newsletter sucks.

I recommend you aim for a 50%+ unique open rate and a 10%+ unique click-through rate.

Ideally more.

The best newsletters (1440 Media for example) consistently get open rates above 55% with 3M+ subscribers.

However, click-through rates (CTR) is harder to set a goal and benchmark for.

That’s because newsletters vary in the amount of links and call to actions (CTAs) in their content.

I’ve found there are 3 main reasons newsletters have low CTR:

1) Not enough relevant links and calls to actions

If your CTR is low you should consider adding more links and CTAs.

A curated link section (like the one in this newsletter) will drastically increase your CTR. More clicks will get you better deliverability and inbox placement.

But don’t cram your newsletter full of links. Just share curated content before or after the main editorial content in your newsletter.

Subscribers should still be able to get value from your newsletter without clicking anything.

Also, you need an ad or promotional section and every newsletter.

This means a section in your newsletter to promote your products, promote a sponsor, or an affiliate offer.

  • A good promotion or ad should get 1%-3%+ of readers to click

  • Your curated link section should get 5%-15%+ of readers to click

  • Contextual links within newsletter content should get 1%-2%+ of readers to click

That’s how you get to 10%-20%+ CTR.

2) Low-quality subscriber sources

I have that found newsletters with low CTR get most of their subscribers from low-quality sources like co-reg, recommendations, and giveaways.

These sources have decent open rates because of Apple Mail Privacy Protection but their CTR is usually <1-2%.

If most of your subscribers are coming from the sources, you’re screwed.

You can’t build an audience that cares about you when most of your subscribers are added to your newsletter because they signed up for something else.

Cut these sources and focus on channels with better subscriber quality and LTV:

  • Referral programs

  • Organic search (SEO)

  • Paid social (Meta ads)

  • Ads in other newsletters

  • Organic social (LinkedIn, Twitter)

  • Cross-promotions (swap ad spots with other newsletters)

The final reason newsletters have low CTR is…

3) They don’t clean their email list

I know, it’s painful to remove subscribers.

But you must do it to increase engagement and improve your sender reputation.

You should be cleaning your list at least once a more or with automation.

Read my guide on how to clean list and win-back subscribers for best practices.

Best Day To Send Your Newsletter

beehiiv found days with the highest engagement (open rates and click-through rates) are Sunday and Monday.

The day with the lowest engagement is Saturday.

I found this fascinating. But don’t over-index on this data.

Here’s why:

  • All the numbers are pretty close except for Saturday.

It’s safe to say if you’re starting a newsletter you shouldn’t pick Saturday as your weekly send day.

But any other day should be fine.

  • Most people should send the day of the week that’s best for them and their audience

If you’re able to create better and more relevant content when you send your newsletter on Saturday — or any other day — do that.

The day of the week is one of the least important engagement factors.

High-quality content is #1.

Then other things like time of day and subject line are much more important.

What Times of the Day Have the Highest Engagement Rates?

Here’s what beehiiv found:

  • The times of day for the best engagement are 10 am GMT (average open rates of 44.5%) and 11 am GMT (average open rates of 42.4%).

  • Then engagement climbs again at 1 pm GMT (open rates of 41.5%) and at 2 pm GMT (open rates are 41.2%).

Note: All the times are in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

If we change them to Eastern Time (EST) the best times are:

  • 5 AM EST - 44.5% open rate

  • 6 AM EST - 42.4% open rate

  • 8 AM EST - 41.5% open rate

  • 9 AM EST - 41.2% open rate

Massive newsletters like Morning Brew, The Hustle, and 1440 have been sending early mornings eastern time for years.

It’s safe to say 5-8 AM EST is the best time to send.

Short Subject Lines = Better Engagement

beehiiv found that:

“The more characters you add to your subject line, the lower the open rate. Stick to subject lines with under 20 characters as much as you can.”

If you look at newsletters like Morning Brew and The Hustle, they almost always use a 1-2 word subject line with an emoji.

It’s great to see beehiiv’s data back this up.

Here’s more data and insights on subject lines from The Hustle.

Beehiiv Boosts Data

beehiiv Boosts is a paid recommendation feature that allows you to promote other newsletters to your subscribers.

  • beehiiv Boosts has paid out a total of $272,430 to creators in 2023

  • The average cost per subscriber is $2.37 in 2023

My predictions on boosts:

More people are going to be using beehiiv boosts to grow and monetize their newsletters this year.

2024’s payouts to creators will likely be $1-2M or higher.

However, the average cost per subscriber and earnings per subscriber are going to go down.

Right now on average people are paying ~$2.37 per subscriber.

In 2024 I expect that number to be <$1.50.

Here’s why:

I like beehiiv boosts but it’s co-reg.

Subscribers from co-reg are always going to have significantly lower engagement and LTV.

Most people don’t understand this. That’s why the subscriber cost is so high.

The same will happen with SparkLoop’s co-reg network.

Buyers will pay less per subscriber and people recommending other newsletters to monetize will make less per subscriber.

Here’s my recommendation to newsletter operators who want to use paid acquisition to grow:

1) Use paid social to grow your newsletter (Meta ads, Twitter ads, TikTok ads)

If done well, the cost per subscriber (CPA) from paid social is $1-$3.

The engagement and LTV of subscribers from paid social is much better than co-reg.

2) Use co-reg like Boosts and SparkLoop to offset your ad cost

Right now, you can earn ~$0.50 per subscriber with Boosts and SparkLoop.

Historically, I’ve seen that SparkLoop has higher earnings per subscriber (ESP).

But Boosts has made some big updates recently that improved their ESP.

If you’re going to try this, I’d test both.

If you acquire a subscriber from Meta ads for $2.00 now your net cost is $1.50.

That’s a better CPA than the average cost of Boosts. Plus, your subscriber quality and LTV will be higher.

Finally, tools like Boosts and SparkLoop and only going to help offset your ad investment and give you some pocket change.

These should not be the only way you monetize your newsletter.

12% of Newsletters Are About AI

beehiiv says:

“In 2023, a total of 3,159 AI newsletters were launched on beehiiv, making up 12.0% of all newsletters launched on the platform.”

That’s wild.

I knew there were a ton of AI newsletters. I didn’t know there were 3,159 just on beehiiv’s platform.

My prediction:

Unfortunately, most of these newsletters are going to shut down, pivot, or sell for pennies on the dollar.

I wrote about my AI newsletter predictions in May and July last year.

What I said then is still true now:


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