The Hustle increases advertising CPM by 46% with Twilio SendGrid

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increase in unique open rate

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increase in list size during the switch



increase in CPM by having a strong email program


The Hustle is a media company delivering business, startup, and tech news via a daily email newsletter and startup events. Founded in San Francisco in 2016, The Hustle serves an audience of over 800,000 readers every day.

John Havel is the Co-Founder of The Hustle. John helps their growth, engineering, and creative teams ensure their newsletter is successfully implemented and following best practices.

“We built our product on email because we wanted to own our channel. Unlike search-optimized platforms like Google or Facebook where a change in the algorithm can decimate the business, email as a platform is not going anywhere and offers us a relatively cheap, direct, and intimate line to our subscribers.”

JH_headshot John Havel Co-Founder


With the rapid growth of The Hustle’s newsletter came more complex email needs. John and his team soon found that their previous email provider, which is targeted at smaller businesses, couldn’t support their needs.

The team needed an email partner that would:

  • Scale with their growth to give them the right-sized solution at a fair price point
  • Provide deliverability support and expertise

“We have a great, highly engaged email list, but our old provider’s shared IP pool didn’t reflect that and didn’t provide guidance on what to do to improve,” says John.

“We reached the point where we wanted to get more advanced with our email program and have more control over our deliverability, but it wasn’t possible in our old provider,” says John.


The Hustle’s team first heard about Twilio SendGrid from their peers. “Twilio SendGrid is recommended by many companies that send massive amounts of email. Everyone told us it’s the platform for growth,” says John.

Twilio SendGrid provided them with:

  • Reliable scaling

“We can keep growing with SendGrid. Pricing is fair, and it’s easy to upgrade as we grow. We have no concerns about drops in service,” says John.

  • Straightforward deliverability tools

“SendGrid just works, and it’s pretty easy to get it to work. Dealing with the technical aspects of email – getting dedicated IP addressesauthentication – was straightforward.”

  • Flexible and well-documented APIs

“The best thing we’ve gotten with SendGrid is the API integrations which allow us full access to our data. From that, we’ve built models, created dashboards, and gotten a lot of insight we wouldn’t have if we stayed with our previous provider.”

Additionally, John and his team were able to leverage Implementation and Strategy services to get help from experts who understand the nuances of email deliverability and how to maintain a clean, reputable email program. 

“We calculated that if we even got only 1,000 more people to open everyday because of our engagement, it pays for itself and more. It’s a small expense for a potential huge return.”

JH_headshot John Havel Co-Founder

Twilio SendGrid’s experts provided the team with:

  • Expert reviews of their email program and sending practices
  • Deliverability recommendations

“We now have the knowledge and understanding to build out our current email infrastructure,” says John. “We were blind beforehand.”


By switching to Twilio SendGrid, The Hustle increased their unique open rate by 17.6% while growing their list size by 525%.

The sustained improvement in email engagement allowed The Hustle to increase the CPM (cost per thousand impressions) for their advertising by 46%.

“Increasing email deliverability and engagement has improved our product as a whole for readers and advertisers which fuels our growth and has direct results on our bottom line. With this additional revenue, we’re hiring more talented people to create content that serves our audience,” says John.

Bottom Line

Twilio SendGrid is a perfect fit for The Hustle because it’s:

  • Customizable and well-documented: developers can build what the business needs with straightforward tools
  • Delivery-obsessed: deep expertise in email deliverability and delivery tools built into the email platform
  • Proven and scalable: The Hustle can keep up with the growth of their business

“We came to get a dedicated IP address and better own our deliverability. With flexible APIs and consultants guiding us on how to set up our email system, we were able to build what we needed for our business. By no stretch of the imagination, Twilio SendGrid is our most important vendor. If you’re serious and committed to email, and you want to be in control of your email program, you should go for Twilio SendGrid.”

JH_headshot John Havel Co-Founder

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