Weekly Digest Emails as an Effective Engagement Mechanic


I’m a firm believer that despite the growth of social networks and messaging app alternatives, email is far from dead as an important communication channel. Usage continues to grow with Google reporting over 425 million active users on Gmail and Microsoft with over 400 million on Outlook.com.

It also remains one of the most effective channels for startups to drive user acquisition, engagement, retention, and monetization.

I wanted to highlight one engagement mechanic that I’m seeing on the rise that strongly leverages email: the weekly digest email. A variety of tech companies leverage a weekly digest email as an avenue to deliver content and value directly to a user’s inbox as well as a key engagement tactic to remind the user of the service.

The most common digest emails deliver links to personalized content that you might be interested in that has been recently published on the service. My favorites, shown here, are from YouTube, Twitter, and Quora.



The key attribute that makes these emails successful is the strong personalization they employ to ensure the top 3-5 pieces of content entice the user to click through. Building a visually appealing email format with clear call to actions is equally important. I’ve seen both YouTube and Twitter iterate heavily on their digest email layouts to get to the current designs now shown below. I’m seeing the weekly digest email tactic now being used by many of the services I use, including Medium, Quibb, Slideshare, LinkedIn Influencers, and many more.

Beyond publishing platforms, there can be value to creating a weekly digest for your service. Mint is a great example of a non-publishing service that sends you a weekly digest of your spending habits and ways to save even more. It’s a quick weekly reminder to make sure you are on top of your finances and a welcome email in my inbox.


AngelList has also created a great weekly digest that highlights startup jobs, interesting new startups that have launched in the categories you are following, and more.


One of the more creative digest emails I’ve seen combines both a user acquisition flow and an engagement reminder. This digest email comes from Wealthfront and provides you an update on the status of your referrals, for which you receive a discount on their advisory fees.


I’d encourage you to not discount email as an important communication channel and consider whether a digest email can be an effective engagement mechanic for your users.
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