Refinery29 | case study

Scale and Expand Refinery29’s Email Footprint by Collaborating with Wunderkind


YoY increase in avg. new monthly subscribers


higher open rates for Wunderkind opt-ins in first 30 days


higher open rates for Wunderkind opt-ins after 90+ days


What Wunderkind has been helpful in doing is targeting these users that might otherwise be transient. Someone coming from search and social by clicking on a trending article might not plan on returning, but since we are able to target them at the right time with the right messaging, we can get them to become a return visitor through the newsletter.”


Refinery29 is a leading global media company focused on young women—and one of the most well-known digital-first publications. Known for their diverse storytelling, Refinery29 has reached a global audience footprint of 249 million people across all platforms and has inspired women around the globe. Email has become a high-value channel for Refinery29 for a number of reasons:

1. Email as a channel has higher monthly visits per user than other traffic sources—double that of search and significantly higher than social networks.

2. It is a reliable traffic source not subject to the same fluctuations as Facebook and Google—an important consideration when maintaining independence from the walled gardens.

3. It is also an important enabler of other revenue sources, as Refinery29 utilizes email as a part of their larger advertising, sales, and events promotions.


At the same time, Refinery29 was looking to more deeply engage audiences long-term and sustainably grow its email list. Refinery29 wanted to get more people to opt-in to their newsletters who would continue engaging over a long period of time. But with prior strategies, they noticed that most engagement came within the first 30 days of signing up, with a drop off after 90 days The Refinery29 team worked with Wunderkind to help them optimize their audience development strategy by using customized messaging triggered by onsite and historical behavior. Wunderkind gave them the ability to:

1. Collect significantly more emails

2. Add higher quality emails to file

3. Protect the user experience, capturing emails in a less disruptive way

With Wunderkind, Refinery29 is able to segment users and present them with more personalized email capture techniques, turning fleeting traffic into loyal readers.


Since launch, Refinery29 has seen their number of average new monthly subscribers grow 21% YoY. Total newsletter subscriptions have grown even more, since Wunderkind is able to opt a user into multiple newsletters, often in one seamless experience.

Subscribers captured by Wunderkind are also more likely to engage with more frequency and remain engaged over time. On average, Wunderkind opt-ins have a 33% higher open rate than other sources during the first 0-30 days. During days 91-120, Wunderkind has a 64% higher average open rate.

Seeing success, Refinery29 decided to expand the scope of the Wunderkind partnership. They worked with Wunderkind to include geo-targeted experiences promoting their 29Rooms events, driving affiliate revenue and increasing podcast downloads. They’ve also expanded Wunderkind internationally to their UK and Canada editions. “There’s value because there are results,” said Jennifer Levin, VP of Marketing at Refinery29. “It’s beyond just the email acquisition; it’s the full-service nature and the ability to do other things in an agile way. That stuff matters, and the ROI is invaluable.”