Blog PostNewsletter Pricing 101

This article will provide you with a general framework to use to price, or buy, your first couple newsletter ads.

One of the most exciting parts of newsletter advertising as a writer, is selling your first sponsorship placement! We’ve helped many writers make their first dollars on the internet, ever, and it’s been an incredible way to see the monetary and emotional value that Swapstack, and newsletter advertising can create. 

Questions we’ll help you answer:

  • Writers: How should I price my newsletter? Where do I start?
  • Brands: What is a good, or average, cost per newsletter ad?

Note that the below assumes a standard “Shout out Ad” which includes an image, a link or two, and 150-200 words. See Newsletter Ad Listings for more details on Ad Types.

‍Also note, for a more in-depth analysis of pricing, please see the write-up our friends at StackedMarketer put together on newsletter pricing.

Types of Pricing

On Swapstack, you can create Ad Listings that reflect two types of pricing: CPO & Flat Rate. We’ll talk you through each of these, and arm you with everything you need to get started.

Cost per 1,000 opens (CPO) 

What is a CPO? A CPO is simply a dollar amount you charge for each 1,000 opens you expect (based on historic open rates & audience size). 

How do I land on a CPO price? You can use two simple rules of thumb here to determine where to start with a CPO: Expected CPO Range & Relative Value of your audience.

Expected CPO range: We see that most newsletters charge between a $25 - $80 CPO. Anything below a $25 may be devaluing your newsletter, while anything above a $80 CPO may be outside of most brands budget.

Relative value of your audience: No calculus here. If you have an audience that is typically hard to reach, has high spending power, or your newsletter is super niche, your audience is likely more valuable to brands than a general audience. If you have a very general audience, your starting CPO is lower on the Expected CPO range, while if your audience is very valuable, you’re a bit higher on the Expected CPO range


Our Suggestion:

Start with a $50 CPO, see how brands react, and go from there. 

  • Raise your CPO if you’re selling ads easily with no questions asked from brands.
  • Lower your CPO if you are having trouble negotiating with brands.

Flat Rates & Package Pricing 

Flat rate & package pricing is used to set a static cost for a single, or multiple ad purchases. This approach allows you to easily ‘package up’ a bunch of ads, and sell them in one go to a brand. 

Typically, as a newsletter grows, they will adjust their flat-rate and package prices accordingly.

Flat Rate: Instead of calculating a total cost using a CPO, you might want to simply slap a price tag on your ad unit. 

For example: 

  • $50 for a classified ads (logo, 1-sentence & link)
  • $150 for a shout out (250 words)
  • $500 for a take-over (A dedicated newsletter)

This feels simpler to share with a brand, and can speed up conversations. However, it’s important to note that many advertisers will do their own math to determine what a $100 Flat-Rate ad means in CPO terms.

Flat Rate Package: Similar to a single Flat Rate, you might want to sell multiple ads in one go. To do so, you can create a Package. 

For example:

  • $1,000 for 4 shoutouts & 1 deep dive
  • $3,000 for 8 shoutouts & 1 deep dive (or ad a podcast mention!)

Still don’t know where to start? Shoot us a note (Jake@swapstack.co or in Slack) and we’ll help talk through it!