7 minutes read

As marketers, we are constantly looking for new approaches and opportunities to have a greater impact and connect with our target audience. However, we don’t want to rely solely on third-party platforms such as social media or Google search. Instead, we want to connect in a more effortless and personal way with our target audience, customers, and even potential prospects.

That’s why newsletters have recently been gaining popularity. They allow us to create and distribute messages directly to our audience, without having to rely on unpredictable algorithms. However, creating, growing, and distributing a newsletter can be time-consuming. 

This is where ads in newsletters come into play. 

To study and identify patterns and ideas that can make a marketer’s and designer’s job easier, I have collected over 250 sponsored ads from both large and small newsletters. In this article, we will dive into these ads and explore their strategies. 

But first, let’s establish some ground rules.

The definition of newsletter sponsored ads: These are advertisements placed within a regularly sent newsletter to subscribers who have opted-in to receive it. These ads can take the form of banners, sponsored content, or even dedicated emails. They can be simple images (static PNG or JPEG), animated ones (GIFs), or HTML5 code embedded from a specific visual (and yes, all of these can be created in Creatopy).

Download the newsletter sponsored ad collection

But Why Should Marketers Be Interested in Newsletter Sponsored Ads?

Newsletter sponsored ads reach target audiences directly without relying on social media algorithms or search engines.

Newsletters are gaining popularity as they allow for easy creation and distribution of messages. Ads in newsletters provide a solution by allowing marketers to promote their brand or product to a wider audience. These ads can take various forms, including banners, sponsored content, or even dedicated emails. Marketers and designers can benefit from studying successful newsletter sponsored ads to improve their own ads.

Now, let’s continue with the analysis of the sponsored ads.

It’s interesting to note that many of these ads are designed to resemble the content of the newsletter itself, making them less intrusive to the reader.

Moreover, the most successful ads are those that convey a clear and concise message, feature an eye-catching design, and include a distinct call-to-action.

As marketers, it’s crucial to bear these key factors in mind when creating sponsored ads for newsletters.

After gathering more than 250 sponsored ads from newsletters, I have identified seven primary themes that top brands use to promote their products and services.

1. The Social Proof Theme

Newsletter ad social proof theme

The social proof theme is widely employed in newsletter sponsored ads. It revolves around showcasing how brands’ products or services have benefited their customers, thus establishing credibility and trust. One effective method is through the use of case studies, testimonials, and client reviews, which demonstrate the positive impact these offerings have had. For instance, promotes a case study where clients achieved remarkable results using their services, inviting readers to find the full details on their website. This type of evidence builds trust by showing that others have experienced success with the brand. In addition to these methods, influencer endorsements and user-generated content can also serve as forms of social proof. Incorporating social proof into sponsored ads is essential for establishing credibility and encouraging readers to engage with the brand.

2. The Storytelling Theme

Newsletter ad storytelling theme

That’s one of my favorite themes for a sponsored ad in a newsletter. Let me explain why. We often overlook the fact that a “newsletter” is essentially a combination of “news” and “letter,” and a letter is a form of storytelling.

By incorporating storytelling into sponsored ads in newsletters, brands can establish a deeper connection with their audience. These ads typically feature a captivating narrative that draws readers in and sparks their curiosity. For instance, Mailchimp effectively uses storytelling in their ad by sharing a personal success story from one of their customers. This not only creates a bond between the brand and the reader but also enhances the likelihood of the reader trusting and engaging with the ad.

3. Gated Content Theme

Newsletter ad gated content theme

Case studies, eBooks, swipe files—there are just a few types of content you can use to generate leads. Moreover, newsletter sponsored ads are the perfect way to promote them. By using newsletter sponsored ads, brands can entice readers to access gated content, such as case studies, eBooks, and swipe files. These ads offer a teaser or preview of the content, igniting curiosity and motivating the reader to click and provide their contact information in exchange for access. This strategy enables brands to generate leads and build their email list while offering valuable and exclusive content to their target audience. Newsletter sponsored ads provide an effective platform for promoting gated content and capturing the attention of potential leads.

4. The Meme Theme

Newsletter ad meme theme

Who said you can’t use memes to attract attention to your brand? In that case, meme ads are a great option. You can connect with your newsletter audience and disrupt their flow by grabbing their attention with an ad. Meme ads offer a fun and creative way to capture the interest of the newsletter audience. Brands can incorporate popular memes or create meme-inspired content to inject humor and relatability into their sponsored ads. This approach can create a memorable and shareable experience for readers, increasing engagement and brand awareness.

5. The Events Theme

Newsletter ad events theme

These are the kinds of newsletter sponsored ads where brands promote their events. These events can be conferences, workshops, webinars, or any other type of event organized or participated in by the brand. The ads typically feature captivating images or designs related to the event, along with information about the date, time, location, and registration details.

For example, in this ad, T-Mobile is utilizing the Marketing Brew audience to promote their Unconventional Awards taking place in Las Vegas. The ad includes a call to action inviting all “bold thinkers” to attend.

Therefore, if your company is hosting an in-person event (IRL), webinar, virtual event, or replaying an old event, using newsletters to attract new leads is a good choice.

6. The Content Leads Theme

Newsletter ad content leads theme

The best way to promote a podcast is on another podcast. The best way to promote a YouTube channel is on another YouTube channel. When I want to watch a YouTube video, I’m naturally inclined to continue watching more YouTube videos. Perhaps I am even open to discovering new types of YouTube content. The same principle applies to newsletters. If you want to grow a newsletter, the most effective approach is to use newsletters to promote it.

By usng sponsored ads in newsletters, brands can successfully promote their content and attract new leads. For instance, in this ad, Morning Brew is advertising their newsletter to the NiceAds audience. By targeting a similar audience within the newsletter, they are more likely to capture the attention of potential listeners who are already interested in the content. This strategy can also be applied to promoting YouTube channels or other forms of content. By leveraging the existing audience of a newsletter, brands can increase their chances of reaching individuals who are receptive to exploring new content.

7. The Product Spotlights Theme

Newsletter ad product highlights theme

These advertisements primarily focus on presenting a specific product or its distinctive feature, emphasizing its advantages, unique selling points, and its ability to address customer concerns effectively. Whether it involves promoting a newly launched item, an innovative feature, or an undiscovered treasure, these advertisements effectively capture attention and generate interest in the product, thereby boosting sales and conversion rates.

Now let’s move on to the important elements of a newsletter sponsored ad. 

What are the four main elements that every newsletter sponsored ad should have?

Newsletter ad elements

  1. An attention-grabbing headline. Newsletters often have designated spaces for ads, and it’s crucial to make the ad blend seamlessly with the rest of the content. Crafting a captivating headline will entice readers to pay attention to your ad.
  2. Compelling visuals. From static photo ads to complex GIF animations, there’s room for creativity in newsletter ads. Visuals play a significant role in attracting and retaining the audience’s attention, so make sure they are eye-catching and relevant to your message.
  3. Addressing the audience directly. Newsletter sponsored ads are a blend of display advertising and native advertising. Take advantage of this combination by tailoring your message to resonate with the readers. Speak directly to their needs and interests to create a stronger connection.
  4. A compelling call to action. If people are intrigued by your offering, they are more likely to click on your call to action. Ensure your CTA is compelling and clearly communicates the next step you want the audience to take. Make it enticing and easy to follow.

Final Thoughts

Before we conclude, it’s crucial to regularly analyze the performance of your newsletter sponsored ads. By measuring key metrics such as click-through rates, conversions, and engagement, you can gain valuable insights into what strategies are effective and make necessary adjustments.

This process will help you optimize your ads, ensuring they effectively reach your target audience and achieve your marketing goals. Remember, a well-crafted newsletter sponsored ad can be a powerful tool in attracting new leads and driving engagement.

So, keep experimenting, refining your approach, and delivering valuable content to keep your audience engaged and interested.

In conclusion, newsletter sponsored ads offer marketers a valuable opportunity to reach a wider audience and promote their brand or product. By following key factors such as creating clear and concise messages, using captivating designs, and incorporating distinct calls-to-action, marketers can optimize the effectiveness of their ads. Whether through event promotions, storytelling, social proof, content leads, gated content, or meme themes, brands can leverage newsletters.

Have you tried newsletter sponsorships?

Robert Katai
Robert Katai is the Product Marketing Specialist at Creatopy. His work was featured on Adweek, Entrepreneur, Marketing Profs, Content Marketing Institute and other places.

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