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Managing subscribers referred via your Partner Program
Managing subscribers referred via your Partner Program

A guide for how to make sure you're correctly processing new subscribers acquired via your Partner Program.

Louis Nicholls avatar
Written by Louis Nicholls
Updated over a week ago

You're setting up your first Partner Program with SparkLoop. Soon, partners will begin recommending your newsletter to their audience, and you'll start receiving a steady stream of new, high-quality subscribers on autopilot.

But first, you need to make sure:

  1. Those new subscribers are added into the correct list/segment in your ESP

  2. You're sending them an appropriate welcome email (sequence)

  3. You are filtering out unengaged subscribers during the pending referral window

Let's dive in...

How subscribers can be referred (Acquisition Source)

Partners can refer new subscribers to your newsletter in a number of ways:

Subscribers who are referred via a normal partner link will sign up via a form on your website and will experience the same welcome flow as "organic" new subscribers.

However subscribers added via Magic Links or Upscribe will not have signed up via your form.

So — although they will be automatically added to the list associated with your Partner Program — they may be missing any custom tags/segmenting you've set up to add them to your newsletter welcome sequence (or to receive regular newsletter sends).

✏️ Action item #1:

Before launching your Partner Program, you should go into your ESP and make sure that all new subscribers who are added with an RH_SOURCE field value of "sparkloop-magic" or "sparkloop-upscribe" are set up to automatically receive a welcome sequence and are in the correct segmenting to receive your regular newsletter sends.

Custom Field

Possible Value




subscriber was added via a Magic Link. They will have visited your thank-you page, but not signed up via your forms.



subscriber was added via an Upscribe widget on a partner's website. They won't have visited your website at all.

How to make sure you only pay for high-quality, engaged subscribers

Subscribers you acquire via your Partner Program must pass through three separate layers of quality control before they count towards your payouts.

To qualify towards payouts, a referred subscriber must:

  1. Pass our comprehensive anti-fraud checks (incl. not already being on your list, burner domains and 100+ other variables)

  2. Be located in a country you stipulated as eligible for payouts in your Partner Program settings

  3. Remain an active subscriber (ie not bounced or unsubscribed) until after the custom Screening period you chose in your Partner Program settings has expired

  4. Engages with your content in a meaningful way, whether is a min numbers of opens or clicks

⚠️ Important: If a referred subscriber passes all three of the above controls they will be "confirmed" and automatically counted towards your next invoice.

It is not possible to retroactively complain about the quality of a referred subscriber once this has happened, and you will have to pay for them.

What is the Screening period?

The Screening period is how long a referred subscriber needs to stay subscribed to your newsletter to count towards payouts.

We recommend you set a Screening period of between 7-21 days. 14 days is usually optimal.

You can see pending referrals in your SparkLoop dashboard, and segment them in your ESP via the RH_ISREF custom field:

Custom field





The subscriber was referred and is currently in the Screening period



The subscriber was referred, passed our antifraud checks, and was not unsubscribed during the Screening period (ie counts towards payouts)



The subscriber was unsuccessfully referred. Either due to failing our antifraud checks, or because they unsubscribed during the Screening period (ie doesn't count towards payouts)

What should you do during the Screening period?

During the Screening period, there are a number of automations you can set up in your ESP to a) proactively boost engagement from new referred subscribers, and b) remove unengaged subscribers (so you don't end up paying for them).

For example, we recommend you:

  1. Create an automation in your ESP to automatically unsubscribe any new subscribers with an RH_ISREF custom field value of "pending" if they have not opened any emails or clicked on any links before the Screening period expires (eg 14 days after subscribing)

  2. Send a custom welcome email (or sequence of emails) to new subscribers acquired via Magic Links or Upscribe. These subscribers won't have visited your landing page, so the welcome email should explain more about the value your newsletter provides, how they signed up, who you are, and what exactly they can expect from your emails

  3. You may also want to include a prominent link or button in that welcome email, encouraging the subscriber to unsubscribe if they've changed their mind about receiving your emails after all

  4. For key partners who are sending you a very high-volume of new subscribers, it may be worth setting up a personalised welcome email just for them. You can do this by using the RH_PARTNER custom field in your ESP to identify the ID of the referring partner in SparkLoop

Which of the above automations you can set up (and how to implement them) depends on your ESP. For support on setting these up, you should contact your ESP account manager.

✏️ Action item #2:

You should confirm with your SparkLoop account manager that the Screening period and Geographical Restriction settings for your Partner Program are appropriate.

✏️ Action item #3:

Set up the suggested custom automations (above) for welcoming new, referred subscribers and proactively screening unengaged ones during the Screening period.

Next steps:

Once you have completed all three action items, you are ready to launch your Partner Program. Please inform your SparkLoop account manager.

It is your responsibility to ensure you have completed the action items listed above, and are proactively screening your referred subscribers to ensure you are satisfied with the quality and engagement.

Once a referred subscriber's status has changed from pending to confirmed, they will count towards your payouts and you will be charged for them. To keep things fair for our partners, we do not make any exceptions on this.

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