Targeted newsletter list yields higher ROI for VíaPaís

By Francisco Rivarola

Cimeco (VíaPais)



At the beginning of December 2021, we decided to test sending VíaPaís newsletters to our readers for the first time since we started publishing articles in 2015. We had a database of 21,000 users.

The first VíaPaís newsletter was sent on December 14, 2021, to about 21,000 people. It was a good experience: The open rate was 6% and we 121 clicks on the articles we presented.

Between December 14 and April 5, we sent 35 newsletters (two mailings per week) to our base of 20,000 e-mail addresses. On average, each of them had an open rate of 3.5% with 132 clicks, a click-through rate for clicks/sent of 0.66%, and a click-through rate for clicks/open of 20%. Based on this data and the money invested, each click cost us US$0.14.

What does this data tell us?

This data told us that we were investing a lot of money in mailing to users who were not interested and that is why the open rate was so low. However, those readers who opened the e-mail clicked on several articles. Additionally, people who came to VíaPaís from the newsletter spent more time on the site than the average user.

Research showed VíaPaís newsletter readers spent more time on the media company's Web site than non-newsletter readers.
Research showed VíaPaís newsletter readers spent more time on the media company's Web site than non-newsletter readers.

Based on these conclusions, we decided to reduce the database to only those users who had interacted with the newsletter at least once. We went from a base of almost 20,000 to a base of 1,200. We decided to send targeted newsletter mailings focused on building loyalty among that base of 1,200 users. In addition, we had to invest much less money for each mailing.

Change of strategy: targeted newsletter mailings

On April 7, we sent the first targeted newsletter mailing and started a one-month test of this modality. Between April 7 and May 5, we sent 13 newsletters (three per week) to an average of 1,200 mails.

Although the database of users receiving our e-mails decreased considerably, the average number of openings increased from 3.5% to 20%, with 111 clicks instead of 132, a click-through rate for clicks/sent that went from 0.66% to 9%, and a click-through rate for clicks/open that went from 20% to 43%. Likewise, the cost per click under this modality became to US$.012.

From this second stage of our newsletter experience, we compared the mass mailing and targeted newsletter mailing and evaluated the pros and cons of each. We came to the following conclusions:

  • Of the total investment, 98% was used in the mass mailing phase, which generated 4,500 clicks, while we invested 2% of the budget in the targeted mailing, which resulted in 1,450 clicks.
  • This means that with 98% of the total investment, 75% of the clicks were generated, and with only 2% of the total investment, 25% of the clicks were generated.
  • Therefore, we decided to continue sending targeted newsletters, since it is possible to continue growing with a much lower investment.

The newsletter reader vs. the average VíaPaís reader

According to the metrics analysis we performed on the readers who come to our site from the newsletter, we discovered the behaviour of this segment is much more loyal than the average user of our site.

Between December 14 (the launch date of the first newsletter) and May 4 (one month after the change to a targeted delivery), the average VíaPaís user visited six pages, stayed on the site for almost a minute and a half, and had a bounce rate of 81%.

VíaPaís is working on a subscription button within its newsletters to grow content engagement.
VíaPaís is working on a subscription button within its newsletters to grow content engagement.

The user who came from one of the newsletters sent during that time visited an average of 11 pages and stayed on the site for almost eight-and-a-half minutes, and the bounce rate was 54%. This shows that readers coming from the newsletter, although they are only a small portion of the total, are extremely loyal to the product we offer them. Not to mention that they mostly browse hard news instead of consuming entertainment and show articles.

The main objective of other business units of Grupo Clarin is to offer differential content to its subscribers. As VíaPaís does not have this business model, the objective of our newsletter is to share with our users political and economic content of national relevance, life stories, articles with videos to generate reproductions, and curious news beyond show business content. And, we use all of these as pillars of a brand positioning strategy as a media house with a more complete offer of exposed topics.

Continuing the newsletter experience

We will implement a subscription button within the VíaPaís newsletter to generate a better reader database with the aim of attracting subscribers, gaining in quality indicators, increasing session time, lowering the bounce rate, and increasing the number of pageviews by our readers.

The second aim is to start our first user registration experience so we can get to know their behaviour within the site and learn their reading habits. From the analysis of this data, we will determine if there could be positive experiences for new thematic or geographic newsletters.

Once the subscription button is implemented, we will begin to perform new measurements that will determine how to continue based on the behaviour data of our audience.

In the future, can we think that the subscribers of newsletters will be able to replace or match the audience that comes from search engines or social networks? Definitely not, but that does not mean it is not an extremely interesting segment to explore, exploit, and try to capture from our content.

About Francisco Rivarola

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