Can You Sell Ads In Your Email Newsletters? Should You?

By Pam Neely


Need some extra money? If you’ve got an email list, there are plenty of ways to monetize it. You can sell stuff directly in your email messages, of course. Or you can sell other peoples’ stuff – known as affiliate marketing. If you’ve got a big enough list, you might even qualify as an report.

If you’re meeting (or beating) these averages, you’re in good shape. And even if you’re not meeting these averages, you can still sell ads – you might just want to charge a little less.

What about the “good” content part?

Well, those same engagement metrics (the clickthrough rates and open rates and all the rest) are the best measurement we’ve got for whether your emails’ content is “good” or not. Of course, you could always ask your subscribers what they think. They might give you some ideas for email newsletter content, too.

Making the decision to sell ads – or not

Let’s say you meet all three requirements. Should you be selling ads in your newsletters? Eh… maybe.

Here are some guidelines for how to make that decision:

  1. Selling ads will undermine your credibility. If you’re publishing a newsletter as part of growing your authority, selling ads might muddy the waters a bit. Because you’ll be taking money from advertisers, some subscribers may be suspicious that those advertisers are shaping what you say or don’t say – whether that’s true or not.
  1. There are usually better ways to make money. You get a free pass on this if your business model is publishing. For everybody else, you should probably be selling your own products and services, not somebody else’s. Even bloggers might do better than selling ads. They could be creating online courses and other paid materials.
  1. The hassle factor. This goes way down if you work with the ad networks. But if you’re dealing with individual advertisers, keep track of how long it takes to manage each ad sale. If you end up spending 10 hours haggling over price, chasing down ad copy, and then chasing down your payment, the ad income may not be worth it.

Even if you do decide to sell ads, never overdo it. Refrain from putting more than two ads in any email message. Of course, you’ll see publishers who break this rule… but their emails often feel like advertising overload.

Just for an example, here’s an email from CNet. It’s got only one ad, and it’s a small one:


Email ad networks

If you do decide to sell ads, here are a few companies that can help you find advertisers, collect payments and manage all the other tasks involved with monetizing your newsletter.


This is arguably the big kahuna of newsletter advertising networks. It’s a programmatic advertising platform that offers retargeting and many other features. They keep to email: No website advertising or social media advertising here.

GetResponse is an ESP partner with LiveIntent. That means if you are accepted here as a publisher, your GetResponse account will be ready to serve ads immediately.



This is a large programmatic advertising network that is also a complete planning and tracking advertising service.

BuySellAds bought LaunchBit back in 2014. LaunchBit still exists as a separate site. They specialize in B2B advertising.

BuySellAds also owns Syndicate. Syndicate tends to work with larger publishers. They also help with monetizing podcasts. lets advertisers sponsor some very small email lists. In the example below, the website that publishes “Art Notes” doesn’t say how many subscribers it has, but they’ve only got 742 Twitter followers, 332 Instagram followers and 416 likes on Facebook.


Gold Lasso

This company manages native ads in email newsletters.


This is an ad network for almost any digital channel, including websites, apps, social media and email messages.

Power Inbox’s RevenueStripe

Ever seen those ads that recommend content at the end of blog posts? That’s kinda what RevenueStripe does (it’s sometimes called “native advertising”), but it puts them in an email newsletter. The content promotions rotate in a carousel. It looks like this:


Word to the wise: One ad network that you absolutely cannot use for email advertising is AdSense. It is against AdSense’s terms of service to put AdSense ads in newsletters. If they catch you at it, they could ban your account.


Selling ads in newsletters isn’t for every email marketer, but if you’re struggling to monetize your list, or if you’re a blogger who hasn’t quite tipped into earning a living, selling a few ads could definitely help. Especially if you have the option of picking which advertisers you’ll accept.

What do you think?

Are you selling ads in your email messages? How’s it working out for you? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.

The post Can You Sell Ads In Your Email Newsletters? Should You? appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Email Marketing Tips.

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