Media & Publishing: Big Think

Monetizing a publisher’s email newsletter through native email advertising.
Partnering with brands and the publisher, Big Think, to monetize with native email ad units.


Big Think is a popular science and technology digital publication that’s world renown for its reporting and news coverage. Major figures like Bill Nye the Science Guy and Neil Degrasse Tyson regularly appear in the publisher’s videos and editorials. The company needed a way to monetize and manage its massive subscriber list.

Colagrossi Media was tasked with developing a consistent email schedule, improving open and click rates, and turning newsletter space into valuable email native ad units that could be sold to brands to be monetized.

We sent, we monetized, and we conquered.

From unprofitable channel to six figure advertising profits.

Colagrossi Media took an email audience that received inconsistent email and was largely forgotten before we re-engaged them, started sending to them six days a week and then turned the newsletter itself into a source of revenue thru native email advertising, where brands could buy ad space that shot up into hundreds of thousands of dollars a month.

Key Services Highlight +

  • Native email advertising
  • Advertising creative design + copy
  • Negotiating brand partnerships & media buys

Colagrossi Media is highly responsive and rises to the challenge of new requests and adjustments to the workflow. Very committed and great to work with. Three years and counting and not a single daily email missed.”

– Jana R. Managing Editor

Before we got to work, the publisher had over 10 newsletter verticals, none of which turned a profit. Our solution was to turn content blurbs in these newsletters into native ad units that brands could then buy to advertise to Big Think’s audience.

Unlike a traditional digital ad, our exclusive native email ad units were integrated organically into the Big Think reader experience on their top-performing newsletters. This allowed brands to fit into and not disrupt the audience experience. We partnered with thoughtful brands who ran ads and messaging that blended seamlessly with content the user was already engaged with, allowing them to become more informed about the brand’s product.

Successful native email ad strategies

  • Boost open and click through rates (CTR)
  • Research to define the client’s target
  • Integrate newsletter signups at every audience touchpoint

Colagrossi Media ran newsletter advertisement buying efforts, scheduled and negotiated existing and new newsletter partners. As for improving general engagement, we increased lackluster open rates that ranged from 10 - 16% to over 30%, while increasing general click-thru-rates (CTR) to 6.60% and to over 15% click rates for native email ad units specifically. These stats soared past the average benchmark for media and publishing companies (as of 2021) which is 20.80% open rates and 3.60% CTR.

We developed some major partnerships with companies including Pfizer, Northwell Health and social media partnerships with Penguin Random House. Overall, we integrated email signups into every single article on the website and cut down on costs through platform migrations and dynamic segmentation of subscribers.


After our work, the company was eventually acquired by a larger media entity, Free Think. Now the publisher can work on continued coverage and expanding brand partners through a strong native email ad base.

Building Brands Through The Power of email marketing

Partner with us and see how we can help you craft a more engaged and revenue driving CRM and email marketing channel for your company.