Advertising Guest Columns
4 mins read

Newsletters: The key to COVID news dissemination and why advertisers should care

The rise of the Delta variant in the U.S. has resulted in the CDC once again ramping safety precautions, which means people must keep up with the new— and rapidly changing— health mandates. And the solution to keeping people informed of these changes may just be as simple as email newsletters.

A Trusted Source

Email newsletters from local publications are an instrumental way to disperse relevant and timely information to engaged readers through a source that they trust. In the case of COVID-19 and the rise of the Delta variant, local government and health officials need to keep constituents up to date with the rapidly changing protocols and guidelines in their area, and not to mention, cut through the noise and misinformation found on many channels. With newsletters, such vital information reaches a wide — yet targeted — audience daily through sources readers are familiar with, writers they know, and information they can rely on.

Newsletters create a trusted relationship between the publisher and its readers, providing them with timely and accessible content in a digestible format. It’s a great way for local publishers to maintain interaction and engagement with their audience and ensure that they reach them in the most efficient and effective way possible. Newsletter popularity has grown to the point that publications, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, continue to expand their offerings, creating more niche subscriptions and bite-sized content proving there is quite the market for it. Newsletters are also becoming a key business model; this summer, Quartz started centering its membership around its newsletter business and the launch of four new newsletters.  

One of the many benefits of newsletters is the plethora of ways by which consumers can gain access to them. One can simply enter their email to subscribe to their favorite news sites or, use Substack to get content directly from their favorite writers. Many journalists have made the jump to Substack, which has over 500,000 paying subscribers with many more reading for free. But regardless of format, newsletters give consumers the news they want, because they choose to receive it. And it’s fertile ground for advertisers.

An Advertiser’s Opportunity

Because newsletters are a medium that consumers actively choose to read, any advertisements within them are seen by highly engaged readers. They’re actively interested in the information and actually asked to receive it, so publishers and brands who use this channel reach a very receptive audience that wants to consume content without the noise found in other channels. 

Advertisers are often relegated to marketing on platforms where their services are advertised next to user-generated content. In an era of misinformation and foreign interference, this isn’t ideal at all. In contrast, email is one of the few media channels with a high consumer trust rank. By advertising directly in publisher newsletters, advertisers can benefit from the consented and logged-in relationship between publishers and audiences: a relationship built on trust and quality.

Data, Data, Data

There can be challenges when it comes to running hyperlocal campaigns. The biggest challenge is, of course, building up one’s customer relationship management (CRM) database.  Unfortunately, marketers have long relied on the walled gardens — which don’t give data back and only allow a campaign to grow inside of its walls — to reach their local audiences, stifling growth of the robust CRM database they want and need. However, unlike the walled gardens, email newsletters actually enable advertisers to use and grow their CRM database.

Furthermore, email works across devices and is optimized for mobile. Advertisers can target based on geo-location in real-time, or, they can use their CRM data to target users they know are in specific regions. All the innovations and targeting that local advertisers leverage in their other campaigns and channels are available in the inbox. This flexibility and accessibility for brands to target consumers has only become more important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as each state or municipality may be in different phases of lockdown or reopening. With the ability to geo-target consumers, advertisers can feel confident that their email newsletter ads will be next to accurate, helpful and up-to-date information, no matter the location. 

Right now it’s unknown just how long the pandemic will last, but it’s clear that, with the way many people get their news, email newsletters are the way forward for breaking news and on-going guidance, even after the virus dies down. It delivers trusted news directly to consumers who have made the choice to read it, and it’s lucrative for both publishers and advertisers as they seek to share informed, relative, and timely messages. We should only expect to see more publications and brands hop on the email train.

Kerel Cooper
CMO, LiveIntent

AboutLiveIntent, one of the world’s largest people-based marketing platforms, connects 2,500 publishing and advertising brands with over 250M logged-in users every month across all types of media. With the anonymized email address at the center of its identity graph, LiveIntent provides brands with solutions that help them monetize, acquire, and retain real people, even where cookies don’t work. LiveIntent is home to over 190 people worldwide with offices in New York, Berlin, and Copenhagen.