The State of Newsletters In 2023

By Keenen CharlesDec 12, 2023

It's that time of year for our annual state of newsletters report. This is the 4th consecutive year I've been doing these report and it's been amazing to see how much newsletters have continued to grow and the trends in the space.

Every year there has been some conversation about the newsletter bubble popping but they've continued to be proven false. Instead new players have emerged and new models for growth and monetization as well.

This year (as of writing) there have been 840 newsletters submitted to InboxReads. That's a 27% increase from 2022! Here's how the number of submissions has grown in the past 5 years.

Line graph of the number of newsletter submissions in each year since 2019

Newsletter Topics

Bar chart of the top 10 newsletter topics by submissions The top 10 topics in the newsletter submissions received this year were as expected with entrepreneurship, tech, and self improvement dominating.

A.I. rose from nowhere to be the 5th most popular topic which isn't too surprising considering the ChatGPT hype this year. Philosophy and politics also broke into the top 10 this year but have always been historically popular.

Check out how the top 10 topics has changed from last year to this year.

Table showing the changes in the top 10 topics from 2022 to 2023

And here you can see how the percentage of popular topics in submissions changed from between the years. A few topics continue to dominate every year and it still contrasts with what users are interested in as you'll see next.

Bar chart comparing the percentage of submissions for the top 20 topics in 2023 vs 2022

You can find more data on newsletter topics at our topics page.

User Interests

Gaming is once again the most popular topic InboxReads users are interested in. The top 5 has remained the same from last year but humor and very surprisingly the programming language Rust have risen to the top 10. Again the most popular topics with readers differs from the newsletters being created. If you're a gamer or avid film fan now is a great time to start sharing your knowledge via email.

Bar chart of the top 20 newsletter topics by traffic to the website

Here you can see the changes in the top 10 from last year. Humor and Rust both rose from nowhere last year to the top 10. While science and philosophy fell a bit but continue to be really popular.

Table showing the changes in the top 10 topics by traffic from 2022 to 2023

Email Service Providers

Bar chart of the number of submissions using different email service providers Substack remains the most popular email service provider for newsletter creators in 2023. Since I've started tracking this it's been #1 with the next best challenger a distant 2nd. But this year it looks slightly different. The gap from first to second is still huge but Beehiiv has become a clear #2 and created a gap between it and the rest.

Bar chart showing the percentage of submissions using different email service providers in the last 3 years Beehiiv first appeared on the list just last year at #4 but has grown significantly in popularity. Ghost, Mailchimp, Convertkit, and MailerLite maintained their positions in the top 6 but haven't made any significant gains in popularity over the years. Ghost's popularity has seemingly stalled this year after two years of significant growth.

The other tools maintained their positions and it's not necessarily a negative reflection on their product or success. Most of those are more targeted to general email marketing and the most popular tools offer specialised newsletter functionality. I expect the top 5 to maintain their positions in the future and Beehiiv to continue it's rise and challenge Substack for #1 next year.

And R.I.P. to TinyLetter which will be shutting down in early 2024.

How Long Did They Survive?

Speaking of shutting down, many email newsletters are launched every year but by the end of the year a large percentage is already inactive. This year 8.8% of submissions made in 2023 were inactive by the end of the year. Pie chart showing the

This does show a clear downward trend since I've started tracking this.

Line chart showing the percentage of newsletter submissions that were inactive within a year of being submitted Newsletter creators are sticking with their newsletters longer than they did before. A good sign that this is a sustainable trend and not just a gold rush.

Sending rates

Bar chart showing the popularity of different sending rates for the past 5 years Sending rates continue to follow the same trends in the past 5 years. Weekly sending is by far the most popular and not much difference between the other schedules.


Bar chart showing the percentage of free vs paid newsletters in 2023 and 2022 The number of newsletters that are fully paid or feature a subscription has remained steady at 13.5%. Many newsletter services now offer built in subscription features so I'm surprised this percentage hasn't grown more but maybe it needs more time.

Pie chart comparing the number of newsletters interested in ads and sponsorship and those not Ads and sponsorship continue to be the most popular form of monetization with 67% of newsletters interested in sponsorship.

Cross Promotion

Pie chart showing the percentage of newsletters interested in cross promotion and those not A huge 81% of newsletter submitted this year were interested in cross promotion. Up from 75% last year. It continues to be a great way to market your newsletter for free and a sustainable way to find growth.


Pie chart showing the percentage of newsletters broken down by languages This year I've started tracking newsletter languages and non-English languages made up only 1.4% of submissions. French, Spanish, Arabic, Polish, and Portuguese were the languages submitted this year. While the newsletter space might be mainly English centered this data would be a bit skewed by the website being English itself.

What's Next?

It's another year where fears of a newsletter bubble have proven to be false. While some aspects like advertising may have been impacted by larger economic issues newsletters have remained attractive and sustainable businesses.

It's been interesting to see the changing landscape for tools to support creators. Beehiiv's growth has been tremendous and they've rapidly added new features to help with growth and monetization. I'll be curious to see if other ESPs follow along in 2024.

The biggest trend has been the rise of recommendations. They function like cross-promotions but are built into platforms. It's proven to be a great tool for growth though there are some concerns about the quality of subscribers. It's another trend to keep an eye on its sustainability in the next year.

As for newsletters themselves there continues to be great interest in niches that creators haven't saturated yet. The newsletter space will continue to grow as creators take note of this demand and launch newsletters to serve them. I'm optimistic that 2024 will be an even bigger year for email newsletters.