How a Female-Founded Sports Media Brand Acquired 213K Newsletter Subscribers in 4 Years

Advertising
Paid Search
Partnerships & Referrals
Email
Instagram
January 18, 2022
Gaming

Key Takeaways

As of December 2021, The GIST has 213K email newsletter subscribers and generates 52K site visits per month. To acquire newsletter subscribers, the brand invests in FB & IG advertising, paid search, brand partnerships and content marketing.

  • Facebook & Instagram Ads: In 2021, The GIST spent $101K in total on Facebook ads and $87K on Instagram, resulting in 18% of site traffic being driven by social media. Top ads on Facebook compared traditional sports media to The GIST and outlined the main benefits of the newsletter such as 5-minute reads, and equal sports coverage. 
  • Paid Search: The GIST started advertising on paid search in December 2021, with a monthly budget of $14K. Top paid search ads provided social proof by highlighting how they already have 250K members in their community and were featured in well-known media publications such as Forbes and Goop.
  • Brand Partnerships: The GIST partnered up with FanDuel to host an NFL fantasy football contest where GIST subscribers could win up to $5,000 in cash prizes. The campaign was promoted on social media, email as well as the main website. 
  • Content Marketing: The brand sends out a newsletter four times a week along with sharing articles on Instagram and a podcast titled “The GIST of it”. Scattered throughout the newsletter are incentives for subscribers to refer friends for a chance to win prizes such as sport jerseys, branded merchandise or a MacBook Pro. Each subscriber is given their own unique referral code. 

The GIST is a female-founded sports media brand launched in 2018 by three college friends. The GIST aims to produce sports content catered to women to change the male-dominated sports industry, where less than 4% of coverage is on female athletes. 

On average, thegistsports.com generates 52K site visits per month. 77% of total site traffic is driven by mobile devices. The main CTA on the homepage is to acquire newsletter subscribers with  “Try It!” and “Subscribe” buttons. 

As of December 2021, The GIST has 213K subscribers for their email newsletter, with an average growth rate of 1.2% MoM (+2.2K).

4 Ways The GIST Increases User Acquisition:

1. FB & IG Advertising

To acquire newsletter subscribers via their website, The GIST invests significantly in Facebook advertising.

Outside of Direct and Search, Social Media is driving the most traffic to thegistsports.com. On average, 18% of traffic to the site is driven by Social Media with Facebook being the top traffic driver on desktop, generating 39% of total social media traffic.

The high volume of desktop traffic driven by Facebook may be attributed to the brand’s significant investment in Facebook and Instagram ads. In 2021, The GIST spent $101K in total on Facebook ads and $87K on Instagram.

Spend is a directional approximation and does not include retargeting, or behavioural targeting. (USD Dollars)  

On Facebook, the top ads compared traditional sports media to The GIST and outlined the main benefits of the newsletter such as 5-minute reads, and equal sports coverage.

Ad Spend: $12.5K | Impression: 2.4M | CPM: $5.18

Ad Spend: $16.7K | Impressions: 1.7M | CPM: $9.71

The top Instagram ad calls out one of their top competitors, ESPN, where the brand highlights how traditional sport media companies feature “barely any women’s sports” while The GIST has equal coverage of both genders. 

Ad Spend: $3.8K | Impressions: 427K | CPM: $8.89

2. Paid Search Advertising

The GIST recently began investing in paid search ads in December of 2021, where the brand spent $14K in just one month. 

Top paid search ads highlight the main three key value propositions for The GIST newsletter - “equal sports coverage in 5 minutes, 4x weekly”. All paid search ads directed readers to the main subscribe page

The brand also advertises their podcast through paid search ads and highlights how The GIST already has over 250,000 members in their community to provide social proof. 

To further entice new users to subscribe, paid search ads highlight how The GIST has been featured on well-known media publications such as Forbes and Goop. 

3. Brand Partnerships

To incentivize readers to subscribe to The GIST, the brand regularly participates in brand partnerships to provide exclusive promotions or merchandise to their subscribers. 

The GIST partnered up with FanDuel (Fantasy Sports company) to host an exclusive NFL fantasy contest with over $5,000 in cash prizes. The brand promoted this campaign on their social channels, email and the website.  

Gist

The GIST created branded merchandise in collaboration with Wilson, which was featured on shop.thegistsports.com, which generated 32K total site visits so far as of December 2021.  

Site Visits: 32K

As part of the collaboration, Wilson.com launched a gift guide featuring the founders of The GIST who picked out their favourite Wilson products.

The founders also shared their favourite Wilson products on their Instagram page.

4. Content Marketing

The GIST aims to provide equal coverage in the sports industry through a weekly newsletter, podcast, and social media posts. The GIST not only sends out a newsletter four times a week, they also share articles on their organic Instagram page and has a podcast titled “The GIST of It”. 

The GIST’s newsletter is easily digestible as the email is broken up into bite-sized pieces, usually starting with the key takeaway of each article. 

Scattered throughout the newsletter are incentives for subscribers to refer friends for a chance to win prizes such as sport jerseys, branded merchandise or a MacBook Pro. 

Top performing content buckets on Instagram contain easily digestible headlines and captions that cover the entire story in under 5 minutes. 

Twitter Quotes


Inspirational Videos

Women in Sports Headlines

Humorous Videos ft. Women in Sports

The GIST has a twice-weekly podcast where the hosts Ellen Hyslop and Stephanie Rotz provide a female perspective on the world of sports. All episodes are less than 30 minutes.


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