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Newsletter Readers Do Click Ads

Posted By Darren Rowse 14th of August 2010 Adsense, Advertising 0 Comments

I recently attended an event where a presenter talked about the reasons that they didn’t use email marketing as part of their online business. One of the main reasons that he presented was that he didn’t think that people coming from a newsletter would click the ads on his site.

His reasoning was that people coming to his site week after week from a newsletter would become blind to the AdSense ads he was using (his main source of income). So rather than working on building loyal readers he put all of his efforts into SEO to generate one of readers.

There were lots of nods in the room from attendees – on one level what he was saying did make some sense – but for me it didn’t quite ring true.

You see my biggest days of earnings from AdSense are always the day I send out my newsletter. It drives a lot of traffic but also does seem to convert in terms of income (all kind, including eBook sales, affiliate promotions and AdSense).

Today I decided to dig a little deeper into my Google Analytics stats (which now integrates with AdSense) to see if what he said was actually true. Here’s what I found when it comes to AdSense earnings on my photography site from different sources of traffic over the last 3 months.


I’m not able to share with you actual eCPM (earnings per 1000 impressions) or CTR (click through rate) as I think it’d break the terms of service with AdSense – but I think the chart speaks pretty clearly for itself.

‘Aweber’ is the traffic coming from my newsletter and I’ve included a number of other sources of traffic to compare how it performs. You can see on both eCPM and CTR that Aweber out performs not only Search Engine traffic but traffic coming from different types of social media and referral traffic from other sites.

Newsletter traffic is certainly converting on both CTR and eCPM. This is confirmed when I look at other newsletter traffic (for example traffic coming from AOL and Yahoo’s mail servers) which is similarly higher than other types of traffic both in terms of eCPM and CTR.

What I also found interesting in these results was traffic coming from sites like Facebook and Flickr which both again out performed Google traffic on both CTR and eCPM. I had always assumed that social media traffic didn’t convert as well as other types of traffic but at least on these results it seems that not all social media traffic is alike. On that topic – Twitter didn’t convert anywhere near as well as Facebook.

Of course these sorts of results will vary from niche to niche. Perhaps because my photography site is not specifically a ‘product’ site but is a ‘how to’ site the traffic from Google is a little more general and less in a buying mood which could decrease the conversions – but for me at least it is an indication that I’m on the right track investing time into growing my newsletter list!

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. I’ve been working diligently trying to get my newsletter list built for this exact reason. I work for a direct marketing firm full-time and when we send out emails (quantities of 20,000+), conversion rates are typically high which equals enormous returns on investment. I like emails!

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for sharing your stats.

    I believe that newsletter readers are the best type of visitors that you can get. This is confirmed by your stats.

    “I had always assumed that social media traffic didn’t convert as well as other types of traffic but at least on these results it seems that not all social media traffic is alike.”

    I have also read this on countless places, including forums and some blogs. Guess they were wrong, or as you say, it maybe because of different niches.


  3. That massive kick aweber gives you for eCPM in particular is fascinating. It suggests that building a relationship with your list really does pay off (not that I ever doubted it. Just love seeing some stats to back it up.)

    This last 6 months, I’ve only bought stuff that was created or highly recommended by a someone I’ve got to know and trust online. I didn’t believe I was unique and love how this model is evolving.

  4. Hey Darren,

    I must say thanks for taking the time to put this together and do the research on your end. I will do the same to see what kind of results I get.

    Have a great weekend…

  5. It does seem as though newsletters work well here. I’m currently working on growing mine and am back to blogging a little differently than before so I’m hoping to see some better results from my efforts as well.

  6. I have to agree with you Darren, if you send out a newsletter on a certain day you can see your click thru and if you are running adsense spike way up.

    I send my newsletters out on Sunday night and on Monday morning I can see the effects from it. You just have to make sure you are sending out quality newsletters worth the end user’s time.

  7. Newsletters are great. There are affiliat marketers who run their businesses solely on newsletters. Take, shoemoney for example. But there are a few things one must keep in my with Newsletters.

    1. Send something Unique – Recently, I’ve subscribed to Smashing Magazine newsletter and I’d want to appreciate them for the work they do with the newsletters. Aside from just blog posts, the newsletters contain some unique things they don’t always publish on their blog.

    2. There’s still an unsubscribe button – With every newsletter you send, you send an unsubscribe button at the end of the email. So, make sure your content is good enough to not get people click it. I subscribe to a few PHP newsletters from a website and some webhost. I unsubscribed the very first issue cause there was nothing but useless advertisements and course promotions.

    3. Take care of Permission Marketing – As Seth Godin says, reach a market with permission. Ask them what they actually want and send personalized stuff and information. Do you think granny would want to ride a skateboard?

  8. Hey Daniel,

    Great Post. It looks like newsletter is working great here.
    I’m going to try this with my list… !!
    Thanks for sharing the results.


  9. Very interesting Darren, thanks for sharing the info. I only wish I could see your eCPM ;-)
    I’m most surprised by Flickr holding 2nd place… I would have never guessed it.

  10. I think that newsletters convert much better than blog posts. Email just seems to be a more personal method of communication.

  11. That actually makes a sort of good sense. Presumably your newsletter readers would be a group of people most actively interested in your topic. What’s really surprising to me here is the rates of response for Flickr and Facebook sources – interesting indeed! Makes me wonder about visitors from YouTube…

  12. Thanks for this post. I had a hunch newsletter readers are ad clickers, because I believed people who read blogs through email aren’t technologically intelligent. After all, who but tech-illiterates would clutter their inboxes with blog updates rather than using a feed reader?

  13. Darren,
    I have just added adsence to my site to offer product opportunities to readers while I am creating some products to share with my growing group of readers.

    Prior to adding adsence I have experienced an increase in visitors to my site once I send out a newsletter. So it will be interesting to see what happens with adsense added. Will I see ‘click thru’ increase on newsletter delivery day or get some email complaints for the new presence of adsence.

    I have seen how you use adsence on your site and it is well done.

    In closing, i also second what Jaky said about the importance of offering quality and making sure your newsletter is permission based. And I believe as Vinny pointed out the timing of your delivery is important.

    What days do you do your email out on Darren?
    Have you tested different days?

    All the best,

  14. Hey Darren,

    I experience the same trend as you on newsletter days. My thoughts on this increased CTR is that it’s related to the reader’s willingness to click – even more so than searchers.

    If you are willing to click a link in an email, then you are a good candidate for clicking on an ad. Subscribers are already in a clicking-mode, and they trust you enough to click a link in an email you sent them. Why wouldn’t they trust you enough to click on a contextual ad that is displaying on your site as well?

    To me, I see the same click-friendly attitude here as I do with search engine traffic. The biggest difference is that the clicker is out of “search mode” and into “trusted-click mode”.

    With a newsletter, you have landed in their sanctuary – a place that is the reader’s own domain (not the dot-com kind of domain). And, if they’re willing to click your links in their home, then your site has become an extension of that sanctuary – a place they’ve invited to come in and visit a while.

    I love newsletter days.

  15. Everything that I have read recently has pointed towards newsletters and emails as the way to for conversions on ads. Not revolutionary, but consistency always wins.

  16. While Adsense definitely depends on niche for effectiveness. I am not surprised that your income rises with an email – it just makes sense.

    You drive more traffic to your blog, means more people and if you blog design and content is effective, of course you should expect more earnings.

  17. Hope they click..so that we get some revenue :P

  18. I had a feeling stumble was going to be the lowest. People rarely stay more than a few seconds when they stumble my blog. I hope to eventually create a newsletter but I suppose it’s more important to continue to build a reader base. Interesting statistics though thanks for this info! :)

  19. Hehe, well I hope those other biz people read your blog, they’ll be feeling pretty silly now. I have a feeling most people don’t subscribe/buy first time they meet you. I bet many people wait until they’ve got however many newletters it took to convince them of your expertise before they buy. Brilliant you have the stats to prove your theory.

  20. I also agree that traffic from social media play less role in revenue generation.

  21. Thanks for this post. It was really useful and I find it interesting. I myself started my own blog, http://www.arts-inmylife.blogspot.com today. Come visit and leave comments!! Thx

  22. IMO, I would not let go any chance of driving traffic to any of my site. Be it either email marketing or SEO and so on.

    My advice is don’t just depend on one resources. I think top affiliate marketers mostly have their auto-responder ready for getting new subscribers as well as maintain the existing customers.

    I found those having follow-up to their lists used to be a top seller.

    For ads, as long as you have an email, you can easily be expose to all types of ads that from Yahoo-Yahoo email, MSN-MSN email, Google-Google email and others not to be listing largely here.

    Tell that presenter talk to these major players remove their ads because he won’t click an ads and same to all the people around the world. Silly him! No hard feelings!

    Have a great day :-)

  23. I’ve been told by a few sources that people have to have contact with you 7 times before they buy something. I somehow doubt the number but the theory makes sense – we build up trust over repeated contacts. I know personally I don’t even look at the ads of a new site, but someone I feel I know or have something in common with, I’m interested in what they tacitly recommend. I don’t actually have any revenue from my blog at the moment, but I’m concentrating on lots of contacts and different types of contact so people feel like they know me. A newsletter is an obvious part of that.

  24. I think this proves that he was wrong. I really should work on getting more traffic from facebook aswell since it looks like a great resource. Thanks for the info!

  25. Interesting article… and just another testament to the whole “you’ve got to test” ideology.

    Good stuff, but the graph was a little ambiguous… or maybe I’m still real sleepy lol.

  26. My first newsletter comes out in a couple of days- guess we’ll find out if people click on ads!

    And yes, it generally takes seeing something several times before readers take action.

  27. Interesting finds, I would never have thought that’d be the case. is good to see however, especially as I’ll be putting a mailing list on one of my newer sites very soon…

  28. It’s my experience too. the days i send out my newsletter, the earnings are doubled sometimes. I think most of the readers are not adsense blind, thats just a small part of the community, those who shout the most about ads…

  29. You have to ask yourself, if it’s something that my competition can do, why am I not seizing that opportunity too.

    Not email marketing only limits your potential. I agree it’s not always best to use but those are potential leads your missing.

  30. I have never really given email newsletter a trial. I think i must be missing something.

  31. I also have a lot of friends who get most of their income from AdSense. Even I use AdSense and it’s been working greatly for me every time I send newsletters. But you’re right, it might depend on the niche though.

  32. Newsletter is valuable if you direct it to the right target. If people who reads them are actually interested in the information, otherwise, is just Spam!. And becoming spam DOES NOT return any money. I am subscribed in many newsletter, but only on those that provides me articles with information. Not in selling invitations. It is still valuable, just some niches have converted this media in spam…

  33. One point that wasn’t included in your post that I wanted to point out. I think the reason that most folks don’t get the resluts they want from their newsletter is lack of content. I can’t tell you how many mailing lists and newsletter I have signed up for and I don’t think I have gotten ONE “content” mailing. It tends to be ad after ad after ad. This is definatly going to numb your readers. Send me content and build my trust and I probably will click through on the ads you do include.


  34. I must say thanks for taking the time to put this together and do the research on your end. I will do the same to see what kind of results I get.

    Have a great weekend…

  35. Anyway, too much ads installed with drop your CTR and eCPM, and this is dangerous, just fill your empty space with just one single large ad.

  36. I have also had good conversions through Facebook, after hearing a number of times that others haven’t.

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