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Newsletter audience engagement

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Hello newsletter friends!
It’s summer 🌻 and The Week in Newsletters will take a little break ⛱️ the next two weeks.
But we’ll leave you with a great issue, as today I’ll share lots of audience engagement details of this newsletter using a new Revue feature called Audience Insights 📊 . Let me know what you think. My email is ↩️.
And I also won’t let you down the next two weeks. You will receive two special editions with the most popular articles of the last year. This will be great for new subscribers who missed them but hopefully also useful for the regulars.
Enjoy and do let me know how you liked it!

Feedback on deliverability
Before I get into the audience engagement of The Week in Newsletters, I wanted to share an amazing guide on deliverability that I received from a reader in response to last week’s issue. Emanuel Cinca writes the Stacked Marketer newsletter and put together a very comprehensive email deliverability guide. Check it out and please do keep those replies coming.
Engagement of The Week in Newsletters
But time to talk about audience engagement. I will share with you the list size, unique opens per issue and audience engagement breakdown of this newsletter, which I started in August 2019.
The objective of the newsletter is to help newsletter editors, audience managers and product managers to create better newsletters.
And to see whether it actually does, I mainly look at engagement.
There are few things I do to keep this newsletter engaging: I look up every new subscriber, send them a personal message and ask them what their preferred topics are. I ask questions in each issue and encourage readers to reply (you really should!!!). I actively encourage subscribers to unsubscribe if they are no longer interested. And I remove subscribers who don’t open the newsletter several weeks in a row.
Since I spend quite some time on engagement, I want to know if it’s working. For me that has meant to look at unique opens per issue and click rate rather than list size.
Below you can see how The Week in Newsletters has grown from 200 unique opens to almost 400 in the last six months. List size has grown from 400 to 700 at the same time. While the gap is widening I am focused on not letting it get too big.
The focus on unique opens has worked well for me and gotten me into the habit of looking at the blue line first. But I was still missing the audience perspective. Do I have 400 readers that open every issue and 300 that never open any? Or are all 700 subscribers somewhat active?
It’s something I think about a lot and also discussed in previous issues. In issue #9 about deliverability, I shared a breakdown of readers of this newsletter according to percentage of issues they had opened. And in issue #12 I shared several audience metrics that were recommended by other experts.
And while I talked the talk, the Revue team walked the walk and started building a brand new audience engagement report that answer exactly that question. Here’s what it looks like for The Week in Newsletters.
You can see that the newsletter currently has 452 engaged readers, i.e. 452 readers that have opened at least 1 of the last 10 issues. But also 38% of readers who have opened none.
The segment of unengaged readers requires constant attention. I check on subscribers and remove those that have not opened the newsletter in a long time. It takes some time, but is important and Revue is working on tools to automate it.
You can also see that the engaged readers are split into high (blue, more than two thirds of issues opened), medium (green, more than one third) and low (yellow, less than one third) engagement. The lighter bars show changes in the segments over the last month.
In my case, there are quite some readers slipping from high to medium engagement. I don’t want the highly engaged subscribers to disengage and will email them to get feedback of what’s caused them to no longer open the newsletter. It might be the corona pandemic, or summer. Or a change that Gmail supposedly did to automatically downloading (or not) of linked images. Or something that has changed in the newsletter and can be improved.
This is another opportunity for a feature that Revue is working on and that will make it easy to contact the highly engaged subscribers to ask for either feedback, or maybe offer them to buy a subscription.
Obviously Audience Insight report was not created to make just this newsletter better. We hope that many other writers and publishers also find it useful. Here’s our CEO Martijn de Kuijper explaining why in the feature announcement:
When it comes to journalism and news, engagement is gold. Our customers tell us that an engaged newsletter reader is up to 8 times more likely to convert into a paying subscriber. An engaged newsletter reader is more likely to donate or look at sponsored content. That reader is so much less likely to churn. Also: News consumers love newsletters, as the Reuters Institute confirmed once more just recently. Email is powerful like that.
Overall I am very happy with the engagement of The Week in Newsletters, especially the large group of loyal readers. And I also find the audience engagement report super helpful.
I’m very curious what you think. Do you find the audience engagement report helpful? Is there anything you would like to add to it? And how could I improve the engagement of The Week in Newsletter even more?
And I am also curious about your audience engagement. So I started a Twitter thread and would love for everyone to share the Audience Insights of their newsletter and discuss them. Please add yours!
The week in newsletters
Thinking about engagement🍿… this is the section that draws the most clicks every week. So here’s this week’s newsletter reading for you:
The Best Email Newsletter Tools 2020
A newsletter as homepage
From paid newsletter to consulting
30 newsletter recommendations
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Anna from Twitter
Anna from Twitter @revue

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