Beehiiv vs Substack - the Ultimate Review (2024)

How do the two biggest newsletter giants stack up? Check our our review of Beehiiv vs Substack for your marketing growth opportunities this year

Beehiiv vs Substack - the Ultimate Review (2024)
 
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I have run newsletters across both Beehiiv and Substack and in 2024 - with newsletters growing, and the trend moving towards ‘owned media’ - the topic of which newsletter platform is more important than ever!
 
Between 2021 and 2022, 402 million emails were sent using beehiiv.
In 2023, the number catapulted to 4.5 billion emails.
 
Obviously biased to them, but if add up the rest of the platforms, its no wonder why these platforms are fighting for turf.
 
In this article I will do a deep dive on the features, some screenshots, which ones are best for what and ultimately you can make your own decision.
 
The short answer though, is that if you are looking to create a free newsletter - both are excellent platforms. If you want to monetize your newsletter - Beehiiv will take you further.

Comparing the features for Beehiiv and Substack:

Beehiiv makes it a bit easier to get these features at a glance, but as you can imagine you get the usual features you would expect:
  • Free subscribers
  • A home page of sorts
  • Analytics
 
And then you are gated based on the number of subscribers, better analytics, automations and then in Beehiiv’s case - the powerful monetization features we will discuss a bit later. Probably the main downside is the 2500 subscriber limit.
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Substack made it a bit harder to get a solid screenshot of its features - but they wrote a good post about it here.
 
The reason for that is that THERE IS NO MONTHLY FEE FOR SUBSTACK. So that being said you pretty much get all of Subsctacks features out of the box, which includes:
  • A welcome page
  • Home page
  • Ability to publish free or paid posts
  • Community features (e.g commenting)
  • Create a podcast
  • Subscriptions
  • Analytics
 
A fee for their tools is just not their model. You can sign up for Substack, add a million subscribers and just run a free newsletter. Case closed. You can sell your own ads or do whatever you want.
 
Where their pricing comes in is if you decide to have a paid newsletter with a subscription fee, in which case they take a 10% cut + transaction costs. (e.g 2.9% +$0.30 if you use credit card - since they process with Stripe). Read more on this here.

What do the Beehiiv and Substack platforms actually look like?

Here is the Substack dashboard (from a long forgotten newsletter of mine! 🤣).
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This is the Beehiiv dashboard - as you can see its a bit more … involved.
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As you can see - relatively straightforward, they both contain many of the same features. Substack has the podcast piece, which Beehiiv does not - I am not sure how many people use this feature, but I imagine thats not the selling point with Spotify owning this market. So really the difference between these two, and Beehiiv’s value prop - is the newsletter monetization.

Monetizing your newsletter

Some of us write just for the thrill of it.
Some of use write to grow an audience and monetize it!
Different strokes for different folks, but apart from affiliate links and driving content back to your own products - how exactly do you monetize a newsletter, and where does Beehiiv and Substack fit into this?

Monetizing your newsletter with subscriptions

Arguably the best, most used way of monetizing your newsletters is with subscriptions. The premise is simple - you write amazing content, and people pay you (monthly or yearly) and thats it.
 
As an example, I am a HUGE fan of Pippa Malmgren, who writes an amazing economics newsletter on Substack at https://drpippa.substack.com/.
 
She started free, grew her audience, and now here posts are paid, and worth it!
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You can imagine with her financial audience, this can get quite lucrative.
 
With Beehiiv you have something similar. The tradeoff is this…
  • With Substack - you pay $0 per month but pay 10% + processing fees for your subscribers.
  • With Beehiiv you have to be at least on their Grow plan ($49 per month) to enable subscriptions.
 
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Monetizing your newsletter with Ads

Monetizing your newsletter with ads can get extremely lucrative with the right audience. It works like this…
  1. Create great content
  1. Measure your views and click through rates
  1. Pitch other firms on why its beneficial
  1. Sell them ad space
  1. Work with them to design creative content and add it into your newsletter
 
Monetizing with ads on Substack:
This is a manual process - you pretty much follow the steps above. You may want to use other software like Passionfroot to create the process and flow for your advertisers. This is an example that Arvind Kal uses (the Bootstrapped founder) - check it out https://www.passionfroot.me/arvid-kahl
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I have actually advertised on his newsletter before - thats how I know!
 
Monetizing with ads on Beehiiv:
This is where Beehiiv truly shines - and its what they were really built for. With Beehiiv you can monetize further with 2 additional ways:
  • Ad network: Monetize your newsletter with premium sponsors (built by the same team who built Morning Brew’s internal ad tools)
  • Boosts: Recommend other newsletters and get paid, totally hands off. The easiest money you'll ever make.
 
Basically they have automated the whole process of finding ads sponsorships and newsletter recommendations to turn your revenue on autopilot. Its pretty wicked.
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So what should you choose? Beehiiv or Substack?

Both Beehiiv and Substack are awesome platforms if you want to grow a newsletter. If you are just wanting to get started, and not pay a dime - you could do it with both. If you don’t want to pay any subscription fees, Substack is a good choice, but just do a good cost benefit analysis first.
 
If you are focused on monetization and ad revenue, Beehiiv is the clear winner.
 

Written by

Qayyum Rajan
Qayyum Rajan

Qayyum (”Q”) is a serial builder with more than 5 startups to his name with 3 exits. He specializes in shipping products fast, and early with an focus on driving traffic across the marketing funnels