7 Email Marketing KPI's You Need to Track in 2021

Rukham Khan
Rukham Khan

Last updated on

October 23, 2021

Without metrics to track, it's nearly impossible to know if your email campaigns are performing successfully. Tracking the right KPIs (key performance indicators) allows you to see at-a-glance if you're making progress towards your business goals for your email marketing campaigns.

Because there are so many different KPIs to track, narrowing down your focus to the right metrics can be the difference between success and failure in your email marketing campaigns. We’re going to present you a list of all the metrics you need to track in 2021 for stellar campaigns.

1. Total opens vs unique opens

Although many people only consider the total number of times an email was opened by recipients, looking at both total opens and unique opens can lead to some interesting insight.

A recipient opening the same message multiple times could mean that you chose the wrong time to send the email campaign. For example, if your recipients received the email at 11 AM but opened the message again at 6 PM after work, there are probably other recipients who chose not to open the message at all due to timing.

By analyzing these metrics, you can start to understand how subscribers are interacting with your content. Are you sending emails at the optimal time for each recipient? Is there too much content in the email for them to consume in one open? A best practice you can use is to A/B test send times and content length to see how subscribers engage with a particular email and make changes based on those results.

2. Opening time

When do most of your email opens occur? Do more recipients open your message within the first 30 minutes after you sent it, or do they wait for later in the day? Do you get more opens on Thursday mornings? Depending on your audience, subject line, and other factors, your recipients may choose different times of day to open your email. You can experiment with different timing.

Alex Vale, Director of Growth at Attio, explains, “opening time is a great metric to track” because “knowing when they’re opening your email can lead to significant boosts to your open rate.” Vale continues: “Perhaps your newsletter has a much higher open rate on Monday mornings than on Friday afternoons, with this information you can tailor when you send out your newsletters and increase your open rates.”

3. Repeat opens

Are some recipients opening your messages more frequently? You can segment your list according to how often recipients are opening your messages and engaging with your emails. Audience members who regularly open your messages and open the same messages repeatedly may be your most important subscribers.

As Marketing Manager at Constellix, Blair McKee, explains, “Repeat opens are the most valuable metric to track. You can build segmented audience lists based on this metric and create tailored email campaigns for each group.”

If you need to send a special offer or a reader survey, these are likely the people to target. McKee goes into detail on this topic by explaining how “top openers my VIP’s, and if I want to ask for a review or some sort of participation, I know this group will be more likely to respond and engage in the content. Conversely, you can send emails with subject lines like “Did I smell?” or something catchy that will encourage your bottom-of-the-list openers to reengage with your content again.”

4. Click-through rate (CTR)

This is the percentage of your audience clicking a link after opening your email. Since you want more link clicks (it's a sign of engagement with your content), a higher CTR is a sign your content is working. A low CTR likely means your content is off or isn't appealing to your audience.

CTR is one of the most important metrics to track because it can directly correlate to your email successfully leading to new business since you need recipients to click to take action. Increasing CTR can come down to the overall user experience of your email. Is it designed in a way that brings the reader’s attention to the conversion point? This is where having a UX designer can make a huge difference in the overall success of your email’s CTR.

5. Subscribers vs unsubscribers

Every email campaign wants more of the right subscribers. An increase in subscriptions generally means your content is appealing to your audience and so this audience is growing. This metric can help you determine if your influence is increasing.

A high rate of unsubscribes means that something with your campaign is wrong. Although even the best campaigns will have at least a few unsubscribers now and then, this is an important KPI to track because it can help you troubleshoot. If a large number of unsubscribes occur right after your latest email, this is likely a sign that this latest email was unappealing enough to your audience that a lot of subscribers took the time to leave your mailing list. Find out what the normal unsubscribe rate is and watch for a sharp increase or change.

6. Revenue per subscriber

Ultimately, for an email campaign, you're using to bring in more revenue, breaking-down your revenue per subscriber allows you to start quantifiably measuring your campaign's return on investment. If you're planning your marketing budget, this can be helpful information. There are many different ways to look at this metric. For instance, lifetime value of subscribers, affiliate sales, product sales, or other monetary results from your campaign.

7. Audience activity

If you have an open rate of 10%, that probably doesn't mean all of your subscribers are opening one out of ten emails. Instead, you likely have around 10% of your audience that's actively engaging with your content and reads every email, or 20% who read every other email. These highly-engaged audience members should be segmented from the rest of your readership and treated differently.

An engagement rate below 25% means you need to focus more on your segmentation to make sure you're finding the right readership. Over time, a low engagement can reduce your email domain's reputation and make your work harder as an email marketer.

How to track email marketing KPIs

These email marketing KPIs are only helpful if you follow them and adjust your campaign accordingly. Since it can be difficult to follow multiple metrics, you should consider creating meaningful dashboards to help you see and interact with this information. Consolidating metrics from different tools such as your email service provider, CRM, eCommerce platform and Google Analytics can give you the clarity you need around email marketing campaigns to make adjustments as needed.

Wrap up

As your KPIs change, you can experiment a bit with your email marketing campaign and see how these experiments impact your results. Remember to keep a continuous improvement philosophy at the core of what you do - this will help you stay grounded and focused on results throughout your campaign.

Author Bio

Rukham Khan

Rukham is the Content Lead at Mailmunch. He believes trust should be the basis for all marketing communications.


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