How Payload scaled up campaigns, channels and sales with ease

Sponsy's deep insights and enhanced capabilities boost sales focus, efficiency and growth

Hours saved every week
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With an audience of more than 19,000 leaders in the space industry, Payload is a US multimedia company focused on the business and policy of this rapidly developing economy. And, much like its readers and listeners, Payload is always on the lookout for new opportunities to grow its channels, as well as its revenue.

The media company hired its first sales professional, client partner Brian D'Erario, in February 2023. Brian combines a strong background in traditional media gained at Dow Jones with a deep understanding of digital, thanks to his time at the Morning Brew.

In this role, Brian works with clients to develop and execute advertising partnerships that drive business growth. While he focuses on sales, an operational manager concentrates on accounting: overseeing post-sales processes and back-end processes.


When I arrived, we were tracking revenue in a very rudimentary way.

For example, if you sold a campaign for X dollars, we could only report that the company bought this campaign for X dollars. That was it...

Brian D'Erario
Brian D'Erario Client Partner

During his time working with the Wall St Journal, Brian learned that it's really important to recognize revenue on an earned-revenue basis.

He needed more than simple, top-line costs: he needed a way of tracking average costs and gaining deep insights into his revenue.

Brian began by creating an Excel sheet breaking down every single advertising dollar sold. It was time-consuming, but not a new process for Brian.

At Morning Brew, we tracked revenue in Google Sheets and that's a company generating $70m in revenue. I don't think it was the best way we could do it.

Brian D'Erario
Brian D'Erario Client Partner

Payload needed to address an additional challenge. Since being so young, they needed to get advertisers in the door initially. The focus was less about the price for selling their product and more about what we they could do for companies in the industry.

Brian, however, recognized that this would change sooner rather than later. He explains:

As we scale, our focus changed to pricing rate card understanding, knowing what prices clients paid previously and what they might be able to pay in the future. We needed to be able to look at the metrics and say, at this price we have an 80% sell-through rate and at this price a 100%. We wanted to to be able to use data-driven analytics to make those decisions as opposed to just guessing based on subscriber list numbers. An approach like that doesn't work for very long.

Brian D'Erario
Brian D'Erario Client Partner

The Payload team began looking for an easier and more effective way of increasing his understanding and scalability.

Why Payload chose Sponsy

In February 2023, after meeting and reviewing offerings from several vendors, Payload's co-founder Ari Lewis put his trust in Sponsy to help his business expand its offerings beyond two newsletters (Flagship and Parallax), a podcast (Pathfinder) and webinars.

Sponsy is the SaaS working tirelessly to help media operators streamline and scale their ad operations by equipping them with the capabilities and data-driven insights they need to work efficiently and profitably.

During initial meetings, Payload found Sponsy's understanding of their concerns, recommendations and ability to tailor the platform to their exact needs.

While Payload was interested in Sponsy's capabilities for their 5x weekly newsletter, they found the platform's compatibility with other types of media (from podcasts and social media to editorial and any type of publication) especially attractive as the company moved forward.

Harnessing the power (and ease) of Sponsy

Less than a month after they began working together, Payload adopted the Sponsy platform for its expanding operations.

According to Brian, the adoption process was “smooth” and followed by “pretty seamless growth”.

We have the data we need to quickly look and say we have this many placements left for the year, which is helpful.

Brian D'Erario
Brian D'Erario Client Partner

But that's just the start, thanks to the platform's ability to allow users to look at metrics within specific timeframes to understand average prices, availability and more.

Gain insights from your sponsorships data with Sponsy's metrics and reporting
Gain insights from your sponsorships data with Sponsy's metrics and reporting

“Specific timelines allow us to manage growth for our projections next year,” Brian adds.

Competitive advantages

From feedback to feature (quickly)

While the Payload team agrees that the platform has been “very helpful”, they have been particularly impressed by Sponsy's responsiveness.

Their team is definitely open to feedback and we will continue to give them our ideas and thoughts as things come up. They've been great in that regard.

When we suggest updates and share feedback with Sponsy, they really listen and make it happen. Fast. Our metrics page is a great example of that.

Brian D'Erario
Brian D'Erario Client Partner

Deep insights into buyer decisions

The platform provides Payload with easy-access to a range of data tailored to their exact needs.

Make data-based decisions to maximixe ad revenue with Sponsy's metrics.
Make data-based decisions to maximixe ad revenue with Sponsy's metrics.

Metrics like these offer Brian deep insights into buyer behaviours. As well as informing future projections, this feature ensures data-driven decision making on price points, scheduling and much more.

The metrics are definitely our top feature - even though it's still in beta. It's already helped us plan for 2024.

Brian D'Erario
Brian D'Erario Client Partner

Time and money saving administration

Incorporating Sponsy into their operations allows Payload to use its resources and budgets more efficiently.

While the platform enables Brian to concentrate on client relationships, sharpen pricing and increase sales revenue, its powerful capabilities eliminate the need of two additional members of staff.

Sponsy means we don't need to hire a head of revenue operation. Audrey and I using this has avoided us needing someone to manage the revenues, projections, operations and more.

Using the customer portal also means we don't need someone tracking our inventory and client assets.

Brian D'Erario
Brian D'Erario Client Partner

Sponsy enables Brian and his colleague Audrey, the operations manager, to handle a range of once time-consuming tasks, including:

  • Managing revenue
  • Making and updating projections
  • Tracking inventory
  • Overseeing client assets


Since adopting Sponsy and scaling up operations in February, Payload's client partner has not looked back with achievements including:

  • More than 80% of the year's ad space sold by July
  • Successful launch of a third newsletter (Polaris)
  • Increased advertising revenue (without additional costs)
  • Effortless asset management
  • Greater customer engagement

You know, it goes out five days a week, so we probably were priced a little too low this year which is not a bad thing, but it helps us understand that next year we could raise prices and see what effect it has on our clients' decisionmaking. Having that data in real time is important.

Brian D'Erario
Brian D'Erario Client Partner

While Payload's planning benefits from Sponsy's capabilities, Brian and his colleague Audrey recognize they have “underutilized” the customer portal and its vast potential.

Through this single location, advertisers can submit advertising materials to publisher-specified requirements, as well as reviewing and approving ads and tracking results.

Collect assets and communicate with advertiser with Sponsy's customer portal.
Collect assets and communicate with advertiser with Sponsy's customer portal.

Following initial, positive trials with advertisers, Payload's clients are now utilizing the portal's easy-to-use interface to reduce the time, effort and risk of error associated with traditional email communications.

Brian is enthusiastic about the possibilities, adding:

It's something that I'm sure will become a favorite of ours soon enough…

Brian D'Erario
Brian D'Erario Client Partner

Highly recommended

Brian feels the platform is particularly helpful for media operators who need to scale revenue operations quickly as opposed to building an Excel, which can quickly become “old and time-consuming“.

I think it's a great tool to be able to manage those revenue operations that may take up a lot of your time. It's a no-brainer.

Brian D'Erario
Brian D'Erario Client Partner

Ready to explore what Sponsy can do for you? Book a demo today.