January 10, 2023

A Go-To Guide for Running Newsletter Sponsorships

Sponsored content is everywhere these days — on publisher websites, social media platforms, podcast streams, and TV screens. 

Just think about a sports game. Replays, half-time reports, and whole teams are often “brought to you by” high-paying sponsors. During baseball broadcasts, brands have even started slapping their logos on the pitcher’s mound. Look at this prime placement from Capital One in the 2022 World Series, for example:

So, with all the frenzy over sponsored content, it makes sense that this form of advertising gains traction over email as well.

In fact, while there are many types of email advertising to choose from, sponsored content stands out as one of the more innovative, less intrusive, and potentially profitable formats for both publishers and advertisers.

That’s why — to help you get started with sponsored newsletters or up your game — we put together this go-to guide for running newsletter sponsorships.

What are newsletter sponsorships?

Newsletter sponsorship is a form of advertising in which a brand pays to have its name and logo placed prominently in a publisher’s email. The main idea is that the brand financially supports the newsletter in exchange for exposure to the publisher’s built-in audience of subscribers.

It’s pretty easy to spot a sponsored newsletter in the wild. They usually include disclaimers like “Supported by [Brand]” or “Paid for by [Brand]” above the fold. Just look at this email from Morning Brew, sponsored by SimpliSafe:

Why should you run newsletter sponsorships?

Many publishers and advertisers can benefit from running sponsored newsletter ads and building this format into their email marketing strategy.

Specifically, sponsored email campaigns can help publishers:

  • Earn higher rates. Since sponsorship slots are exclusive, advertisers don’t have to compete for attention in the same email. Each brand gets to own a whole newsletter for an entire send. That means publishers can charge premium prices for these placements.
  • Deliver seamless user experiences. Unlike banner and display ads, newsletter sponsorships don’t interfere with the email content and interrupt the user experience. Instead, they’re designed to blend into each context.
  • Become immune to ad blockers. Sponsored emails aren’t subject to ad blockers, which many consumers use to avoid seeing pop-up ads and display ads.

Meanwhile, advertisers can use sponsored newsletter placements to:

  • Access guaranteed inventory. You don’t have to compete in a programmatic auction or ad networking bidding war. So you can work with the publisher directly to project impressions, conversions, and revenue.
  • Increase brand awareness. You can use sponsored emails to increase brand awareness and recall, and remain top-of-mind among potential customers.
  • Tap into target audiences. Many publishers run niche email newsletters for audiences with specific interests. That means potential sponsors can get in front of these highly targeted subscribers with their ads. The New York Times, for example, delivers a range of newsletters across verticals:
Email newsletter Sponsored Ads

Here’s an example of their Cooking newsletter, sponsored by meal kit delivery company Home Chef:

How do you run newsletter sponsorship campaigns?

Newsletter sponsorships are usually coordinated directly between publishers and advertisers. However, both parties can use a range of resources to help streamline this process, including:

  • Searchable databases of sponsorships. You can access databases that list out which advertisers sponsor different newsletters. So if you’re a publisher, you can see which types of brands are buying sponsored slots in your industry. And if you’re an advertiser, you can find relevant publishers to partner with.
  • Email ad servers. Many publishers have to manually hardcode their sponsored ad units into each email. But they can save time and resources by using an email ad server to automate this process and dynamically deliver sponsored units. Meaning, they can run those sponsored logos like they would any other ad, and track all their campaigns from the same platform.

Now that you’re an expert in newsletter sponsorship, are you ready to launch your own sponsored email ads — either as publisher or advertiser? Contact us to get started.