Real Time Banter: Email Acquisition Best Practices and the Impact of COVID-19 on Publishers

In the first Real Time Banter webinar, LiveIntent’s SVP of global marketing, Kerel Cooper, and VP of marketing, Nick Dujnic, discuss email acquisition best practices and the impact of COVID-19 on publishers.

Key insights

The pandemic has been a double-edged sword for publishers. It provided them with increased traffic as people craved news and information, but it also caused a dip in ad spend since brands didn’t want to be associated with coronavirus content. Many publishers also practiced responsible journalism by removing their paywalls for COVID-19 articles, costing them valuable revenue.

Publishers can help mitigate this loss by boosting their email acquisition strategies and building their newsletter subscriber lists.

As a result of the pandemic, LiveIntent reported the following changes in advertising across its platform of over 2,000 email newsletters:

  • 5% increase in email opens and impressions
  • 24% fewer impressions needed to drive an email signup
  • 70% increase in impressions for style & fashion content
  • 53% increase in impressions for news content
  • 31% increase in impressions for health and fitness content
  • 16% increase in desktop engagement while mobile engagement remained steady

This is the time when people are hungry for content and engaging with email more than ever. The New York Times, for example, launched a dedicated landing page for COVID-19 content, where readers can sign up with their email and get free articles delivered to their inbox.

Email is also the gift that keeps on giving. You can monetize your subscriber audience by programmatically placing ads in email newsletters, generating revenue from impressions. People can then click on your content and visit your website, where you can generate revenue from on-page monetization. And further down the line, they might become paid subscribers or members. In fact, one of the greatest predictors of whether someone will become a paid subscriber is whether or not they’re subscribed to your email newsletter.

Email acquisition isn’t just important during the pandemic; it’s also crucial for surviving the death of the third-party cookie. Publishers will need access to owned audiences and first-party data – beyond the walled gardens of Facebook and Google – and email can provide that for them.

Takeaways and best practices

  • Promote your advertising and marketing initiatives by targeting your engaged readers across various newsletters.
  • Build audience segments to reach readers beyond your newsletter and transform long-term members into paid subscribers.
  • Showcase value. If someone gives you their email address, that’s personally identifiable information. They took a leap of faith. Now it’s your turn to follow up with strong content.
  • Keep it simple. If you have multiple newsletters or types of content, stick to one message to communicate your value. If you need to, run multiple creatives with different types of messaging across the board and let them optimize against each other to see which are driving the most engagement and conversions.
  • Have a dedicated landing page connected directly to the creative you’re pushing out. Build seamless, intuitive experience that keep audiences engaged and minimize frustrations. Otherwise you’ll miss out on conversions and lose money on those ads.

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