Founded in 2017, Substack’s mission is to connect writers directly with their audience. The platform allows content creators to publish newsletters that subscribers can access for free or by paying a monthly fee.
This way, Substack has become the most successful newsletter subscription platform in the creator economy, attracting high-profile journalists, bloggers, and thought leaders.
In just five years, it gained over one million paid subscribers and millions of monthly readers. The company has raised more than $80 million and was last valued at $650 million.
Substack keeps adding new features to the platform and growing in popularity. If you’re interested in Substack or newsletter publishing, here are 30+ Substack statistics you should know in 2023.
Substack Statistics (Highlights)
- As of November 2021, Substack had over 1,000,000 users with paid subscriptions.
- The top ten writers on the platform made a combined $20 million in 2021.
- To date, Substack has raised over $82 million in funding.
- Substack was valued at $650 million in the most recent funding round.
- In April 2022, Substack.com got over 30 million monthly visitors.
Substack Subscriber Statistics
High-quality content is driving millions of new users to join Substack, allowing it to achieve a phenomenal growth rate and continuously set new records in the subscription economy. It allows you to create both free articles as well as paid content.
Here are some Substack user statistics:
- Substack has millions of monthly readers, and the platform appeals to a wide audience, as it has thousands of writers covering almost every topic.
- By the end of 2021, the number of paid subscribers on the platform had skyrocketed to over 1,000,000.
- Between December 2020 and November 2021, Substack saw considerable annual growth, quadrupling paid subscribers from 250,000 to 1,000,000.
- The number of paid subscribers increased by almost 90x between July 2018 and November 2021.
- Only 5% to 10% of Substack users subscribe to a paid newsletter.
- In April 2022, Substack.com received 30.6 million website visitors.
Most Popular Substack Newsletters
If you are a new content creator, you should research the most popular accounts. Unfortunately, Substack is vague when it comes to disclosing subscriber counts, releasing no exact numbers.
To get an estimate, you’ll need to go to the creator’s page. There, you’ll find broad classifications such as “In the Hundreds” and “In the Thousands.”
- There are 27 categories, each covering a different topic. These include politics, business, culture, technology, climate, humor, history, etc.
- You’ll need thousands of subscribers to be considered a top writer, but this also depends on the category’s popularity.
- The Dispatch is likely the highest-earning Substack account. They charge $10 per month and have tens of thousands of subscribers.
- In 2021, Substack’s top ten writers made a combined $20 million.
- Between September 2020 and October 2021, the top ten newsletter owners almost tripled their Substack earnings.
- Letters from an American is the most popular paid newsletter in the politics category.
|Position||Name||Subscriber Count||Monthly Price|
|1||Letters from an American||Tens of Thousands||$5|
|2||The Dispatch||Tens of Thousands||$10|
|3||TK News by Matt Taibbi||Tens of Thousands||$5|
|4||Bulwark+||Tens of Thousands||$10|
|5||Glenn Greenwald||Tens of Thousands||$5|
- According to a Financial Times estimate, Glenn Greenwald made between $1 million and $2 million on Substack in 2021.
- Lenny’s Newsletter is the top paid business writer, while The Ankler is the second most popular Substack newsletter in the business category.
|Position||Name||Subscriber Count||Monthly Price|
|5||BIG by Matt Stroller||Thousands||$8|
- In January 2021, Lenny’s Newsletter had 3,200 paid subscribers, with an estimated monthly income of $43,200 after Substack’s fees.
- In the Crypto category, prominent Bitcoin advocate Anthony Pompliano ranks number three. He produces both written and audio content, and estimates suggest that he generates over $240,000 annually.
Substack Revenue and Financials
Despite achieving the one million paying subscribers milestone, Substack is yet to become profitable.
While Substack doesn’t release any revenue or financial information publicly, we have used a variety of secondary sources to collect these statistics.
- Substack takes a 10% commission on all subscription fees charged by creators.
- While Substack’s official revenue numbers aren’t available, the company told investors that it generated $9 million in revenue in 2021.
- Since 2017, Substack has raised four rounds from 15 investors. To date, the total raised amount is $82.4 million.
- The prominent venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) led both the Series A and B funding rounds, raising $80.3 million.
- Substack was part of Y Combinator’s incubator program, which funded the $120,000 pre-seed round.
|Funding Round and Date||Lead Investor||Funding Amount|
|Pre-Seed; Jan 4, 2018||Y Combinator||$120,000|
|Seed; Apr 30, 2018||No Lead||$2 million|
|Series A; Jul 16, 2019||Andreessen Horowitz (a16z)||$15.3 million|
|Series B; Mar 31, 2021||Andreessen Horowitz (a16z)||$65 million|
Substack Website and App Statistics
This section will look at some of Substack’s impressive website and app statistics.
- Substack ranks as the 952nd most visited website in the USA and 2,072nd globally, attracting more than 30 million visitors every month.
- The site boasts an average visit duration of two minutes and one second, placing it far higher than the average site, which is only 45 seconds.
- 46.57% of all visitors are from the USA, while visitors coming from the UK (5.9%) and Canada (5.77%) come in second and third position, respectively.
- The gender breakdown of site visitors is 62.6% male and 37.4% female.
- 31.74% of website visitors are aged between 25 and 34, while the second most popular age range is 35 to 44 (19.23%).
- Substack has an iOS app called Substack Reader. In April 2022, the mobile app was downloaded an estimated 50,000 times from the App Store.
- On the iOS App Store, the app’s average rating is 4.9/5 stars (based on 4.3k ratings).
As of May 2022, Substack doesn’t have an Android app. While some third-party apps offer a work-around solution, none are highly rated.
Miscellaneous Substack Statistics
Here are some miscellaneous Substack statistics and some interesting company information.
- Substack pays employees an average of $117,372 per year—or $56 per hour.
- Substack has rapidly expanded its team from 75 employees in 2020 to over 316 in 2022.
- Stripe is Substack’s payment provider. It charges a gateway fee of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
- It takes up to 48 hours for writers to receive earnings in their bank accounts.
- In 2019, Substack offered a $3,000 grant and a one-day writing workshop to entice more writers.
- In 2020, Substack made headlines for offering up to $400,000 in advance payments to popular journalists from the New York Times, New York Magazine, and The Intercept. By exclusively signing them, the platform attracted the writers’ large audiences, many of whom became paid subscribers.
- Substack’s Twitter account has over 77k followers.
- Paid newsletters aren’t just limited to Substack. Rather thousands of writers run their independent newsletter subscriptions. For instance, Ben Thompson had 26,000 paid subscribers in 2020 and he earned $3.2 million through newsletter subscriptions.
Substack has changed the playing field for online publishing, allowing many writers to earn a great living by doing what they love.
In the past few years, Substack has seen impressive growth rates, which don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
As the platform continues to grow and evolve, we’ll update this post with the latest Substack statistics.
And leave a comment if you’d like to add anything.