Case Studies of Publishers Using

Helen and I talk about Email-Based Retargeting for publishers.

Publishers take note: Email-Based Retargeting may be a massive win for your business.

Who doesn’t want to grow their email list with contact records from users who found their way to your website? This is the essence of Email-Based Retargeting (EBR), and it’s very compelling for most online businesses.

However, there are some buyer types that see value quicker than others, and some that will see no value at all (B2B for instance…EBR only captures personal emails and addresses, which renders the technology more or less useless).

E-commerce companies typically see CAC in the $20-40 range, but since these emails represent cold traffic and are lower intent, they take far longer to convert than emails that opted in to your list. 

E-commerce sees value, but it’s slow, and the burden of proof is on us.

With publishers, it’s different. Email-Based Retargeting is a publisher’s dream.

Email-Based Retargeting for Publishers = Instant Value

Publishers sell the size of their list, either directly or indirectly, to advertisers.

The clearest, most direct value of EBR is for publishers who sell newsletter “takeovers” to advertisers, at a cost per thousand email contacts, to the publisher’s list. 

Let’s run through a few great use cases.

1. Use Case: How Marin Magazine Gets ROI Using

marin magazine

A great example of a successful use case is Marin Magazine

They have 33,000 contacts on their list, and advertisers pay them $100 per thousand contacts. 

We send them contact records (including email address) of people who were on their website the day prior at a starting price of $250 per thousand contacts. The contact records pay for themselves in 2.5 sends. 

Open rates are strong (15-20%), and unsubscribes are low, so Marin’s team isn’t worried about losing the “engagement” part of their pitch. These contacts go straight to the bottom line.

2. Use Case: How Gwinnet Magazine Drives Profit with

Gwinnet Magazine

A slightly less direct way to drive value from Email-Based Retargeting is the way that Gwinnet Magazine values the subscribers. 

Their market isn’t sophisticated enough to price with CPM, so they simply sell a newsletter takeover for $1,250 to a contact list of 30,000. 

Gwinnet values an engaged subscriber by dividing the price of a newsletter by the number of contacts, then dividing again by their 1% monthly unsubscribe rate to get Lifetime Value (LTV). 

$1,250 / 30,000 / .01 = $4.16 subscriber LTV

They will take targeted customer records from website visitors at $.25 all day long.

3. Use Case: How GadgetFlow Fights Attrition with Retention

GadgetFlow is a digital product-discovery platform, and they also consult for people who are trying to execute successful Kickstarter launches.

It’s a known best practice that you need 5-10k emails on your email list in order to ensure a successful launch.

Before, GadgetFlow was acquiring emails on Facebook for their consulting customers for $1.25-1.50, and they were of dubious quality.

They currently get 20,000 emails/mo from at $.20 each, and the emails have a better open rate than the Facebook emails had.

For GadgetFlow, is a no-brainer.

Hold on. You guys do

First things first. 

What is Email-Based Retargeting

Email-Based Retargeting is the art of identifying anonymous website traffic (up to 35%), and matching that traffic to a large partner database of third party opt-ins. Then, you get contact records that aren’t on your list yet. 

That last piece is critical: these contacts are not on your list yet.

That’s what makes Email-Based Retargeting different than existing ID technologies like BounceX or LiveRamp. They essentially identify non-logged-in contacts you already have and allow you to send more triggered emails to the same people.

It’s legal in the US, and CAN-SPAM compliant. More on that here

There are only US email addresses in our database, so GDPR doesn’t apply. Neither does CASL.

How does it work? 

There are two parts to Email-Based Retargeting:

  1. Identification. We use cookies, but this can also be done with cross-device ID.
  2. A contact database. We have a large network of over 15,000 websites that we are partnered with that generate around a million records a day in total.

When a live body that we’ve previously cookied shows up on your website, we take the hashed email address in the cookie and see if it matches any hashed email addresses in our database. Hashed is a fancy word for saying the email has been encoded for privacy.

If it does, we give you the entire, unencrypted contact record. Email, first, last, postal record, and landing page.

Is the data any good?

Yes, the data is very good. 

The magic of Email-Based Retargeting is that the identification piece brings what would otherwise be worthless, untargeted data to life. 


If an email address is in a cookie in someone’s browser, and that person hits your website, there is a live body that is still connected with that email address. 

Those live bodies open emails. 

We know because we have several hundred customers using the technology. They are getting strong open rates with low complaints and unsubscribes.

How do I mail to it? What do I do once I get the record?

Even though the prospect left your website without subscribing, we recommend you send them a welcome series of three to five emails. Then, once that’s done, add them to your regular mailing program.

Lead with as much value as possible, and keep in mind it’s a different journey from someone who has raised their hand and subscribed to your newsletter.

We provide you with the landing page of the contact record, and through our “complex integrations,” you have the ability to send records from a given landing page to a given list in your ESP and trigger automations accordingly.

It’s critically important to send to these contacts as soon as possible.

The only complaint problems we have ever observed have been from our customers who have accumulated contacts over several weeks, waited to send to them, and sent a normal newsletter, all at once. 

For more about how to have success with Email-Based Retargeting, click here.

How do I get started?

Email-Based Retargeting is a publisher’s dream.

Go to to sign up for a demo.

If you’re a larger publisher, email diana[at]retention[dot]com, and we will create a custom pricing plan for you that will allow you to pilot the technology quickly and easily, with no commitment. 

Email me if you have any questions about EBR. I’d love to hear from you. adam[at]retention[dot]com. 

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