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Janet Roberts

How Does Your Ad Rate Compare?
By Janet Roberts

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If you sell advertising in your newsletter, you're probably wondering whether your ad rates are in line with those charged by other newsletters in your market niche or circulation area.

Here's a quick look at newsletter ad rates by circulation. Circulation tells only part of the story, however. For a future Ezine-Tip, I'll re-sort the database according to newsletter content, separating business from consumer and noncommercial from commercial mailings.

Okay, enough introduction. Here's the chart; be sure to stick around for the caveats that follow the numbers:

CPM Ad Rate Comparison for English-Language Email Newsletters:

Circulation: Under 10,000

Range Average Median
$6 - $25 $11.65 $12.50

Circulation: 10K - 24,999

Range Average Median
$1.11 - $81.81 $16.23 $5

Circulation: 25K - 49,999

Range Average Median
$2.50 - $50 $17.34 $11

Circulation: 50K - 99,999

Range Average Median
$2 - $42 $16.02 $4.47

Circulation: 100K +

Range Average Median
$1/67 - $60 $19.61 $5

The chart compares advertising costs on a cost-per-thousand basis for free, opt-in newsletters. Publications using time or flat rates had their rates converted to CPMs for comparability. I also dropped out CPMs that were way out on the high end of the range, because they pulled the average CPMs out of whack.

Now the caveats:

1. This is not a scientific survey. I did not verify the circulation numbers claimed by most newsletters, except for those hosted by free services such as Yahoo! Groups or Topica Exchange, which track the circulation.

2. I didn't collect the data systematically. I got rates either from Ezine-Tips readers who sent them in at my request or from my own visits to newsletter publishers whose products I receive now, subscribed to in the past or know about by reputation. (That's a data set of about 500 right there, though.) However, I think I've pulled together a reliable sample of business-to-business, business-to- consumer, solo publisher, consumer-to-consumer, commercial and noncommercial publications.

3. I segregated rates only by circulation, for expediency. Thus, a high-quality business newsletter could get mixed up with a semi- sleazy adult joke newsletter -- several of which, actually, had higher CPMs than the buttoned-down business ones -- and a family- oriented recipe newsletter. In a future Ezine-Tip, I'll present a chart comparing ad rates by content category.

4. Just because a newsletter says it's getting a $42 CPM doesn't mean it is. "Let's Make A Deal" is the name of the game in ad sales. A $2 CPM might be low for a 20,000-circulation weekly serving a growing audience of outdoor-sports enthusiasts, but it could be just right or even high for an Internet-marketing magazine that doesn't distinguish itself from the thousands on the market now.

Ezine-Tips for November 22, 2002

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