Analysis of the two newsletters format
Looking back at where we are with the split format and some ideas about what to do next
Starting on 10 April 2023, I changed the format of the newsletter and split it in two:
The Code Edition - containing Community, All about Code and Ruby and Related
The Content Edition - containing newsletters, articles, videos, podcasts and everything else
I talked about the why in an announcement I called “Updating the newsletter”. One reason was that it was hard for me to create one single long newsletter and another one was:
I also feel that there are a lot of good articles written, and putting them at the end of a very long article is somehow taking a bit of their light or inspiration. Moving them into their section/email, I can maybe put them more into the spotlight or summarise some of them so you can pick what to read.
It’s a good opportunity to take a moment to reflect and assess our current situation. Therefore, I will examine:
number of subscribers
clicks on links inside the newsletter
The split lowered the open rate by a couple of points.
Number of subscribers
The number of subscribers grew from 2.880 subscribers in edition 30 to 3.133 in editions 40 and 3280 when publishing this article.
Looking at the growth rate, it does not seem that the split affected it.
There is an inverse correlation between the number of subscribers and the open rate: when the number of subscribers increases, the open rate will decrease or remain the same.
Number of clicks
Indeed, the purpose of the newsletter is different from one that directly invites you to click. It is more in the direction of a good summary of what happened, having everything inside to get a good glimpse of the past week. Still (at least for the content side), the number of link clicks should be considered.
Out of all the metrics, this is the only one that shows improvement after the split.
Number of views
Here it seems that the content edition is viewed more than the code edition. Still trying to figure out what this means and how to interpret it.
Although I appreciate the concept of data-driven decision-making, I have seen numerous instances where solely relying on numbers has led to unfavorable outcomes and products.
Thus I need to interpret this more by thinking first about the purpose of the newsletter: to provide a comprehensive free summary of what’s new in Ruby's world every week. And then consider the numbers.
I think now that the best way forward will be:
Return to the initial newsletter format (the one before the split that includes everything inside) with the “More content” section kept as text without expanding it to screenshots.
And for anyone that likes the format of the content edition, I will still publish it but only on the web — not sending it via email.
This way, I can include a link to Read more content in the newsletter that will redirect to the web page that will look like the content edition.
I am well aware that we (myself included here) are a community that wants to keep our inboxes clean and appreciate fewer emails.
By implementing this approach, subscribers can receive fewer emails in their inboxes yet still have access to more content for those who wish to read more.
I don’t yet have a specific date in mind when this will happen, but it will probably be in the subsequent few editions.
Until then I will keep the two editions format to not create too much confusion.