A Complete Guide to Email Newsletter Advertising

newsletter advertising cover image with letters AD

Newsletter advertising has the potential to make you hundreds of dollars a month with just a few thousand subscribers. 

But what is it? How does it work? And how to ace it?

If those are the questions on your mind, you’ve come to the right place. 

Read ahead as we explore everything you need to know about newsletter advertising and show you some of the best newsletter advertising examples to take inspiration from.

What Is Email Newsletter Advertising? 

Email newsletter advertising is when an advertiser buys ad space in your email newsletter. By advertising in newsletters, businesses with a similar target audience as yours aim to promote products, services, or published content.

Email newsletter advertising has various forms, including sponsored content, display ads, and product placements.

As for newsletter advertising rates, there’s no standard, and the amount you charge depends on several factors. There’s potential to earn as much as $120,000 per year.

How Effective Is Newsletter Advertising?

79% of marketers place email in their top three most effective channels for marketing. But why is advertising in newsletters (a form of email marketing) so popular? 

Here are four explanations:

  1. Targeted reach: Newsletter ads enable advertisers to reach a highly targeted audience of engaged subscribers who have opted in to receive relevant content and promotions. What’s more, people must log into their email accounts to access email newsletters, reducing the risk of bots or ad fraud.
  2. Potential for high conversion rates: Since newsletter subscribers are already interested in the publisher’s content and offers, newsletter ads have the potential to yield higher conversion rates as compared to other digital advertising channels.
  3. Measurable ROI: With tools like Campaign Refinery, it’s easy for advertisers to track and measure the performance of newsletter ads using metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversions. 
  4. Brand association: When companies partner with reputable publishers and appear in their newsletters, it enhances their brand’s credibility and establishes a positive brand association among subscribers.

How Much to Charge for Newsletter Advertising? 

E-newsletter advertising rates depend on how you charge for ad space. 

There are four ways to do this:

  1. Cost per mille (CPM),
  2. Flat rate,
  3. Cost per click (CPC),
  4. Affiliate pricing model.


CPM refers to the cost advertisers pay for every thousand impressions of their ad within your newsletter. 

Advertisers pay a flat rate for every thousand times their ad is shown to subscribers, regardless of whether or not they interact with the ad. 

Advertisers calculate the total cost of the ad using the formula:

Cost of ad = [total subscribers/1,000] x $CPM

According to Growth Currency’s review, the average CPM ad rate should be between $50 and $75. But the author himself is charging $125 per ad with 1400 subscribers, so it comes down to the value you offer to the advertiser. 

Note that if you choose this model, you’ll need to understand email marketing psychology and ensure your emails get opened. You will get paid only if your subscribers view the ads in your newsletter.

Here are some pros and cons of using a CPM model:

Predictable revenue stream from ad impressionsRisk of advertisers expecting high engagement
Opportunity to monetize email list efficientlyPressure to maintain high open rates
No dependency on ad performance for revenuePotential for lower advertiser satisfaction if ROI is not apparent
Pros and cons of the CPM model

Flat Rate

Flat-rate pricing involves charging advertisers a fixed fee for the placement of their ad within your newsletter. Unlike CPM, where advertisers pay based on impressions, flat-rate pricing involves a fixed cost regardless of the number of impressions or clicks generated.

Since there’s no pressure to maintain high open rates with this advertising method, it’s a good choice if you’re just starting. 

Here are the pros and cons of flat-rate pricing:

Simplified pricing structureRisk of undercharging if ad overperforms
Transparency for advertisers
Pros and cons of flat rate pricing


CPC refers to a system where advertisers pay a predetermined amount each time a recipient clicks on their ad within your newsletter. Instead of impressions, they pay for the clicks their ad gets, making CPC a performance-based pricing model that has a low risk for both advertisers and newsletter owners. 

According to The Newsletter Newsletter, the average CPC rate hovers between $0.88 and $29.98. 

The pros and cons of this pricing model include:

Pros Cons 
Potential for higher revenue with more clicksNeed for high-quality ad placements to drive clicks
Possibility of disputes with advertisers over click data
Pros and cons of CPC pricing

Affiliate Pricing Model

Affiliate pricing involves advertisers paying publishers a commission or referral fee for driving conversions through their newsletter ads. 

If your newsletter fails to convert ad viewers, you earn nothing, making this model risky for newsletter owners.

But it’s also profitable if the advertiser is selling a high-ticket product or service. For example, say the advertiser is a company selling handbags worth $500 each. You charge 20% of the product price for each successful conversion and manage to drive ten conversions per week. The result? A $1000 weekly earning.

There are no average email newsletter advertising rates for the affiliate model. Try aiming for a small but high-ticket niche (like a vintage watch collection, luxury pet accessories, or high-end tea blends).

Here are the pros and cons of this pricing mode:

Pros Cons 
Potential for high revenue when promoting high-ticket services/productsDependency on your ability to convert leads
You may come off as unauthentic 
Pros and cons of the affiliate pricing model

Types of Ad Formats for Newsletter Ad Campaigns

There are two main categories of newsletter ads — native ads and dedicated ads. Dedicated advertising is when an email contains only promotional material. This is also known as e-blasts

Native emails ads are more strategically placed and blend well with the non-promotional content of an email.

There are four native ad formats you can use for your newsletter:

  1. Banner ads,
  2. Text ads,
  3. Classified ads,
  4. Sponsored content.

Banner Ads

Lonely planet banner newsletter ad
A screenshot of a banner newsletter ad [Source]

Banners are graphical or visual advertisements prominently displayed within the layout of the newsletter. They can be placed at the top, bottom, or sides of the newsletter and have high visibility.

There are various forms of banner ads, including static images, animated GIFs, or HTML5 banners. They feature eye-catching visuals, compelling headlines, and clickable calls-to-action (CTAs) to drive engagement and clicks.

Here are the pros and cons of using this ad format:


  • High visibility and attention-grabbing design,
  • Suitable for brand awareness campaigns,
  • Allows for creative flexibility with visuals and messaging.


  • May slow down newsletter loading time,
  • Limited space for detailed messaging,
  • Banner blindness may decrease effectiveness, which is when readers, consciously or subconsciously ignore ads/banners due to frequent exposure.

Text Ads

Teachable Newsletter with a text ad
A screenshot of a text newsletter ad [Source]

These are concise, text-based advertisements that are integrated into the body of the newsletter content. They are made up of a headline, a brief description, and a clickable link as the CTA.

Unlike banner ads, this ad format does not rely on visual elements. Instead, it uses compelling email copywriting to capture readers’ attention and encourage clicks. 

Pros and cons of using text ads include:


  • Reduced risk of ad blindness
  • Lower production costs compared to graphical ads


  • Limited visual appeal
  • Requires strong copywriting skills 
  • May not be suitable for visually rich newsletter layouts

Classified Ads

Classified Ad example from a newsletter
A screenshot of a classified newsletter ad [Source]

Classifieds are typically organized by category or topic and displayed in a dedicated section of a newsletter. 

Compared to banner and text ads, they are concise and to the point—often as short as 20 to 50 words. They provide only the most essential information, such as product description, price, and contact details. 

Classified ads are the most effective for reaching a targeted audience interested in specific products or services within a niche market.

Here are the pros and cons of using classified ads:


  • Organized format facilitates easy browsing for readers,
  • Ideal for promoting niche products or services,
  • Attracts high-intent audiences.


Sponsored Content

sponsored content in a newsletter
A screenshot of sponsored content in a newsletter [Source]

Sponsored content (also known as advertorials or native advertising) is promotional content that you integrate into the newsletter’s editorial content

Unlike traditional ads, sponsored content matches the tone, style, and format of the newsletter. This provides valuable information or entertainment to the reader while subtly promoting the advertiser’s offers. 

Sponsored content can take multiple forms, such as articles, guides, or videos (embedded within the email content).

The pros and cons of using sponsored content include:


  • Blends easily with the rest of editorial content,
  • Builds trust and credibility by providing valuable information/entertainment,
  • Allows for deeper storytelling and brand immersion compared to other types of ads.


  • Requires thorough disclosure to maintain transparency.

How to Track Newsletter Ad Campaigns?

As a newsletter owner, the only way to ensure the success of newsletter advertising is to make your emails open and read. The ad’s success depends on factors beyond your control, such as the copy provided to you and the company’s reputation.

So how do you know if your emails are being opened and read?

You can use an email marketing service, such as Campaign Refinery, to track four key metrics:

  1. Open rate,
  2. Conversion rate,
  3. Click-through rate,
  4. Bounce rate.

Open Rate

This is the percentage of recipients who opened your newsletter. It shows how effective your subject line and preview text are.

Campaign Refinery calculates the open rate for all your campaigns automatically. But if you’re not using it, use the following formula to manually track the open rate:

Open rate = (number of opens/number of delivered emails) x 100

Aim for an open rate between 15% and 30%.

Conversion Rate

The conversion rate refers to the percentage of recipients who completed a desired action after reading your newsletter. In terms of newsletter advertising, this is the percentage of readers who clicked on an ad in your newsletter.

You calculate this metric using the following formula:

Conversion rate = (number of recipients who took the desired action/number of emails delivered) x 100

While newsletter advertising has the potential for high conversion rates due to a dedicated audience, you can experience conversion rates as low as one percent if your ads are irrelevant. This is why it’s a good idea to keep your target audience in mind before entering advertising partnerships.

Click-Through Rate

This is the percentage of recipients who clicked on a link within your newsletter. It indicates the level of interest and engagement with your content.

Here’s how to calculate it:

Click-through rate = (number of clicks/number of delivered emails) x 100

The average click-through rate for emails across all industries is around 1.86 percent.

Bounce Rate

This metric represents the percentage of emails that were not delivered successfully to recipients’ inboxes. It means your list contains undeliverable email addresses.

The formula to calculate the bounce rate is:

Bounce rate = (number of bounced emails/number of sent emails) x 100

The average bounce rate across all industries is 10.45 percent. The lower your bounce rate is, the more effective your newsletter advertising will be.

Campaign Refinery automatically cleans your list so it contains only active addresses, making your email advertising efforts more successful.

5 Newsletter Advertising Examples to Learn From

Here are five newsletter advertising examples to inspire your next campaign:

1. Dense Discovery — An Example of Classified Ads

Dense Discovery Newsletter with Classifieds
Dense Discovery Newsletter with Classifieds [Source]

This is a section from one of the emails by Dense Discovery (DD). The ads on the left side are neat, precise, and action-inspiring with clickable links. 

On the right side, there’s a small note to maintain transparency with the audience and attract more advertisers.

2. Morning Brew — An Example of Banner and Text Ads

Morning Brew Newsletter Example with Banner and Text Ads
Morning Brew Newsletter Example with Banner and Text Ads [Source]

The Morning Brew is a daily email newsletter that delivers concise, witty, and informative business news. 

In this example, the newsletter advertises VANTA in one of its sections. There’s a vibrant image with a clickable button, which catches the reader’s attention.

There’s also explanatory text at the bottom of the banner, which is a good example of how banner and text ads can be combined. Also notice the use of good copywriting skills—the ad creates a sense of urgency by stating that “spots are limited”.

3. MarketingProfs—An Example of Sponsored Ads 

MarketingProfs Newsletter with Banner Ad
MarketingProfs Newsletter with Banner Ad [Source]

MarketingProfs is a newsletter dedicated to B2B marketers, and here is one of their emails that uses sponsored content for advertisement. There’s an image to draw the reader’s attention and a few explanatory (and compelling) lines along with a clickable link. 

The ad also maintains transparency with subscribers by clearly mentioning it’s a sponsored guide.

4. Sea of Thieves—An Example of Text Ads

Sea of Thieves Newsletter with Text Ads
Sea of Thieves Newsletter with Text Ads [Source]

This ad aims to promote the game “Sea of Thieves” and retain existing players. In the example above, note how smoothly the copy compels the gamer to sign up for the game’s online community and participate in ongoing challenges. 

Also, notice how the components of the text ad (headline, description, and clickable button) are blended well within the email. The reader won’t likely perceive it as an ad and click on the link.

5. TargetMarketing—An Example of Sponsored Ads

TargetMarketing Inbox Ad
TargetMarketing Inbox Ad [Source]

In this example, the sponsored ad looks just like the other items on the list curated by TargetMarketing. The only difference is a small note saying “Sponsored by Claritas”. This is a great example of how to blend ads in your newsletter while staying transparent with your readers.

Supercharge Your Newsletter Advertising with Campaign Refinery

The bottom line is — your newsletter advertising efforts will be only as good as your newsletter email marketing efforts.

This means you’ll need to endure a challenging learning curve to boost your open, conversion, and click-through rates. Which is learning how to write better, format better, and strategize better.

But with so much of your time spent on the strategic aspects of your newsletter, who is going to take care of the technicalities? Enter Campaign Refinery — an email marketing solution that helps quality senders unlock elite email performance. 

Here’s a quick glimpse of the key features you get:

  1. Automatic list cleaning: We automatically remove undeliverable, role, malformed, spam trap, complainer, bot, and disposable email addresses from your list. This boosts your open rates and conversions from the get-go and helps you charge high for your ad space.
  2. Highest email deliverability on the market: We offer the highest email deliverability on the market.
  3. Detailed report generation: Track key KPIs of your newsletter performance with Campaign Refinery and easily share automatically generated reports with advertisers.  
  4. Supreme gamification: Keep your subscribers engaged and eager for more emails with unique interactive gamification features. 

Sounds interesting? Check out Campaign Refinery’s plans and apply to become a client today!

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