What does my Subscriber report show?

Audience Insights has moved to the Subscriber report tab.

On your Subscriber report tab, you’ll see dashboards for:

These metrics can provide insights into the health of your paid subscriptions by helping you understand how your paid audience is growing, the rate that they're staying as paid subscribers, and where your Substack is read. Free publications will only see Audience Insights.

On your dashboards, you’ll see either a plus sign, minus sign, or a checkmark next to a percentage. These symbols indicate whether your paid subscriber retention and growth rates are overperforming, underperforming, or are typical compared to your publication's peer group.

Note: You will only see the subscriber retention and paid growth rate dashboards if you have payments enabled on your publication and have had at least 100 paid subscribers in your publication's lifetime. If you've just enabled payments, it may take 30 days for your dashboards to appear from when you get your first paying subscriber.

Subscriber retention

On the subscriber retention dashboard, we'll display the percentage of paid subscribers who are still subscribed after 30 days, 6 months, and 1 year.

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What does paid subscriber retention mean?

Paid subscriber retention is a metric that indicates the percentage of your paying subscribers who are continually subscribed to your publication for a specific period of time. For example, if we are measuring retention over a period of one year, we would look at all users who subscribed to your publication at least 1 year ago (excluding any gifted or comped subscriptions) and divide the number of users who were still subscribed after one year by the total number of users to calculate the percent retained.

By monitoring your retention rate, you can get an idea of your ability to maintain your subscriber base and how much growth you need to maintain your audience size.

Understanding your graph

The retention details provide a view of how your retention has changed over time. To read a retention cross-tab chart, look at:

  • The month column to determine when the subscribers first subscribed to your publication
  • The new subscribers column shows the number of subscriptions for the given month.
  • The numbered columns represent each month since the given subscription month, and the percentage of subscribers that are still subscribed after that many numbers of months.

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For example, in the chart above, there were 1,800 new subscribers in February of 2022 and 97% of these subscribers were still subscribed after 1 month. By April 2022, there were only 900 new subscribers and retention had dropped to 96%, so this publication is not gaining new subscribers as quickly and is losing them faster than before earlier in the year.

By looking at the percentages across the columns, you can understand how your subscribers are retained as they age.

By looking at the percentages going down the rows, you can understand how your retention is changing over time with newer vs older subscribers. An increasing retention rate over time means that newer subscribers are being retained at a higher rate than older subscribers.

Note: It is natural to see a slight decline in retention as subscribers age, including a sharper drop at 1 year as yearly subscriptions hit their renewal date.

Paid Growth rate

Paid growth rate is the percentage change in total paid subscribers from 30 days ago.

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Note: Comped and group subscriptions are excluded from the paid subscriber growth rate and paid subscriber growth chart.

Understanding your graph

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Hover over each data point and see the exact numbers for:

  • Free readers upgraded to paid
  • New paid subscribers
  • Trials started
  • Unsubscribes initiated
  • Subscriptions expired

What is the difference between "unsubscribe initiated" and "expired"?

With a paid subscription, readers can unsubscribe before the subscription expires but still have paid access. For example, a reader that subscribes in January for an annual subscription but unsubscribes in June can still have access and be counted as a paying subscriber for another 6 months until their existing subscription expires the following January.

Expirations are when the readers who have unsubscribed have reached their end date and have lost their paid access. Their subscription will either convert to a free subscription or churn off completely.

Audience Insights

These sections show where your subscribers are located around the world and where your audience overlaps with other publications. 

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You can filter by:

  • Time period: 30 days, 90 days, all time
  • Location: US map or world map
  • Type of subscriber: All subscribers or paid subscribers
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