beehiiv vs Substack: A Comparison
Lately, people have been talking a lot about beehiiv, a Substack alternative.
We ourselves did a review on this newsletter platform. But the question is, is it actually better than Substack?
In this post, we’ll try to find out. We’ll make a comparison of beehiiv vs Substack, focusing on their features, pricing and more.
beehiiv vs Substack
beehiiv is a newsletter platform launched in 2021 by Benjamin Hargett, Jarred Hurd and Tyler Denk.
They created beehiiv to equip creators with powerful growth tools to get their message out there.
That’s why they don’t only offer a newsletter service but also landing page creation, as well as powerful analytics.
Despite being a very young platform, beehiiv already works with some of the top newsletters out there such as Madhappy and The Publish Press.
Substack is a popular tool for publishing your content whether it’s written content, audio or videos. It was launched in 2017 and has headquarters in San Francisco, California.
Substack is full of big names like Patti Smith, Matt Taibi and other famous authors that use the platform to share their content and stay in touch with their audience.
Substack and beehiiv are focused on emails but they also offer you a blog or website to publish your content.
Substack content options include posts, podcasts, videos and threads. Their editor allows you to create podcasts that have supporting multimedia material around it like images, video content, text or bonus audio.
beehiiv doesn’t offer podcasts but you can enrich your newsletters with images and quotes.
When it comes to writing your newsletter, both tools offer advanced customization options and are super user-friendly.
beehiiiv, for example, lets you test newsletters before sending them to your audience to make sure they look just how you want them to. Substack has a similar option.
Both platforms offer custom domains.
To get a custom domain for your email and your website, beehiiv requires you to sign up for the Grow plan and pay monthly (pricings below).
Substack’s custom domains work differently. To unlock this feature, you have to pay a one-time $50 fee per publication. After that, you’ll be able to add and remove custom domains at no additional cost.
Substack network helps writers grow their subscriptions on the platform a lot. According to their data and their own users more than 30% of all new free subscriptions and around 10% of paid subscriptions to Substack come from within their network!
That means you don’t have to feel like you’re alone trying to get your work to be seen. And for content creators, that means the world.
beehiiv doesn’t have these support systems but it does have some features to grow your email list. For example, you can customize external subscribe forms to embed on your existing websites and collect emails.
With beehiiv and Substack you can monetize your content by offering premium subscriptions. Your premium content will be hidden behind a paywall and only they will be able to see it.
They also have multiple ways to encourage users to subscribe to your newsletters. You can create custom offers, discounts and free trials, as well as monthly and annual subscriptions.
beehiiv, moreover, has a referral program. Thanks to this partner program, you can earn 50% of revenue for 12 months for referring new paying customers to beehiiv.
Both beehiiv and Substack only send your payments through Stripe. This has been a source of frustration for non-US content creators wanting to charge their customers US dollars since Stripe takes the funds and converts them into the creator’s local currency.
beehiiv lets you import both your subscribers and your content from Substack and Revue and the process is super quick, the estimated time is one minute. Sadly, being such a young platform, beehiiv doesn’t support lots of options yet.
Substack, on the other hand, supports imports from Mailchimp, WordPress, Tinyletter, Revue, Medium, Tumblr, and even some custom web pages. So no matter where your newsletter was before, chances are you’ll be able to move it to Substack effortlessly.
Currently, Substack doesn’t have a public API and they don’t know if it would ever become available.
Beehiiv, on the contrary, gives users access to their API right in their Grow plan so you can integrate with other services. They have also created Pollinate, a completely free tool to integrate your newsletter with Twitter.
Both platforms offer collaboration tools so your team can join and write with you. They also have 4 categories of roles and badges so you can assign different levels of responsibility to each person.
beehiiv has a toolkit of data features.
They have native one-click polls to collect feedback and insights from readers directly in your newsletter as well as advanced segmentation. The latter gives you insight about your audience based on dozens of available metrics, attributes, and events.
beehiiv also offers its users Subscriber Attribution. This tool is modeled from world class tools like Google Analytics and it helps you understand subscriber growth broken down by referring site, campaign, device, browser and more.
Substack also has advanced analytics. From your dashboard, you can see plenty of data like where your traffic comes from, trends in paid subscription growth, how many of your paid subscribers came via the Substack network and more.
However, they don’t have advanced audience segmentation or audience polls, leaving beehiiv as a stronger option for analytics.
Substack and beehiiv have a different attitude towards apps.
Substack has an app available for iOS. The app, like the website and the email, is another place where you can publish your content. You can even publish simultaneously on the three channels.
However, beehiiv doesn’t include a consumer mobile app. And Tyler Denk announced it won’t ever have an app. According to him:
“By shifting the content into an app feed, it’s a blatant shift towards prioritizing readers over creators. It’s an attempt to increase the friction of interoperability and the dependence on their platform and strips away the core benefits of email as a medium for writers”.
Support and resources
Substack has a Help Center full of guides to get you started. You can also write to their support team in case you have any questions.
They even have a support system program for writers getting started called Substack Go. This is a new service and you need to apply for it.
During the whole month of February, Substack will connect participants to a small squad of eight to ten fellow Substack writers for four weeks of support and structured guidance.
They also have weekly events where the writer community and the Substack team gather together in a discussion thread to share knowledge and answer questions.
beehiiv, on the other hand, has multiple video tutorials on Youtube, besides tons of articles, guides and feature updates. You can get in touch with them by submitting a ticket.
Substack takes 10% of your revenue so you pay according to how much you earn. They don’t offer plans so if you want to get a sense of how much you could make, check out this page.
beehiiv doesn’t take a fee of your revenue, so you’ll keep all the money you gain regardless of the plan you choose:
- Launch: free. Includes up to 2,500 subscribers and unlimited sending.
- Grow: $42 per month if billed annually. Access the API (Beta) and collaboration tools, plus offer premium subscriptions.
- Scale: $84 per month. Get the integrated referral program and 3D analysis.
- Enterprise: custom. Includes unlimited subscribers, no contract lock in, a dedicated IP address and more.
beehiiv Pros and Cons
- It doesn’t take a fee of your revenue.
- API available and more integrations.
- Referral program.
- Not many features yet.
Substack Pros and Cons
- Substack network and other support systems.
- Includes podcasts and videos.
- Multiple migration options.
- It takes 10% of your revenue.
beehiiv and Substack are solid newsletter solutions that will help any content creator.
The biggest advantage of Substack, in my opinion, is their whole set of resources to support their content creators. Creating on your own isn’t easy!
Not mention finding people that actually want to pay you attention.
For anyone insecure that’s just starting out, Substack’s features are super reassuring.
Moreover, if you want to create a podcast or fancy adding different multimedia to your content, Substack gives you the chance to do all of that.
But, having been a while in the market, their integration options are super limited. And they will always keep a fee of your revenue.
As I see it, although beehiiv has powerful advanced analytics and integrations, they still have some growth to do in terms of features.
However, if they keep improving as they have, they’ll soon surpass Substack and take its place as one of the best newsletter platforms.
What do you think? Is beehiiv better than Substack?