Last updated on
March 17, 2023
John is one of the savvy entrepreneurs who run a bakery of confectionery goods. His cakes, doughnuts, and baked goods are considered top-notch within the next ten blocks. To retain his existing customers and attract new ones, he always sends out an email every week sharing the top sold-out items and offers a voucher for special occasions.
Result: Customers stay tuned to the emails and frequently visit the bakery to buy their favorite baked goods, thus increasing sales.
Problem: John doesn’t know how to keep track of his emails to evaluate their performance.
It's an understood fact that emails are the primary mode of effective marketing to attract, engage and connect prospective and existing customers. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 31% of B2B marketers believe that email newsletters are terrific for nurturing leads. But how does one track and evaluate their email marketing performance? The question is nagging indeed. At this point, you need to become aware of email marketing analytics if you aren’t already.
At every stage of an email campaign, marketers need to evaluate the performance using the best KPIs (key performance indicators). Therefore brands are always willing to use third-party analytical tools for this very reason (something John should try).
Do you want to have more insight on email performance visibility? If so, you are on the right page. This guide will learn about the major metrics, KPIs, and reports for successful email marketing analytics.
As the name suggests, the KPIs help you make campaign decisions based on the right goals. With their help, you can measure the campaign’s success by relying on one, two, or three metrics.
A set of metrics calls up for a balanced scorecard to generate the best results from email marketing metrics. But let's not forget that setting the KPI and metrics is not an easy task. You have to go through several iterations until you find the right formula for your brand.
A company usually uses a set of goals to track its campaign’s success. The email metrics should achieve the goals, but you should also focus on deliverability and content performance.
Bearing this in mind, find out the steps to measure email marketing’s success.
Every business owner should learn about the measurable metrics that will help learn new tactics for better-performing campaigns.
The main concern should be choosing the metrics you can use to evaluate the campaigns. Based on those metrics, you can focus on the unique selling propositions that would lead to purchases later.
On the other hand, defining the metrics also helps set email marketing goals. Are you thinking of using it for customer re-engagement, for bulk newsletters to retain an audience, or for targeting warm leads with a personalized message?
Each campaign has a distinct goal that must be attainable. Every email may not produce the desired result. Some may not even generate revenue.
Done with the goals? Great! Now you can start defining KPIs. It's important to keep positive and negative KPIs in mind, such as revenue uplift or open rate uplift and unsubscribe rate. It indicates if you need to revise your KPIs to reach the goals.
Often neglected, it can indicate a poor performance for campaigns. However, tracking metrics is accessible with customer data platforms. Using such a platform helps you to keep track of email-related actions.
Evaluating the performance of each campaign is easier said than done. Sometimes you need to assess daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Defined KPIs also help to decide the factors that can be improved. Unhappy with the conversion rates but still beating benchmarks? Maybe you can focus on some other factor to improve the respective concern.
Understand the way metrics understand one another, then develop the strategy. Reporting can take a while. You cover the basics of a funnel, i.e., your customers, audience criteria, and email frequency. Once the problem is resolved at this part of the funnel, you can generate better results.
Before examining the metrics, understand the reason to track the metrics to form the most effective email marketing strategy.
Email marketing gives you the space to understand how subscribers engage with your content. That’s why tracking is important. Without it, there’s no way to know how your content resonates with the subscribers in the first place. This way, you can decide the dos and don’ts and make certain improvements.
For instance, maybe the email subject lines are catchy, so they open it, but the email body lacks the pitch and isn’t engaging, losing subscribers. Understand the problem, and fix it by setting a goal and assigning KPIs and the metrics.
Before you begin, remember that every email marketing campaign is different and has different goals and KPIs. Take a look at the metrics that can be part of email marketing campaigns.
Gaining more subscribers is one of the ultimate goals of any email campaign. You gain some, and you lose some. It's understandable that at one point, the number of subscribers may decline. However, knowing this early helps to prevent the issue of declining subscribers rate.
Email audience trend evaluates the increase or decrease of subscribers and tracks the users who open the emails. It could happen due to several factors like data privacy. You can calculate the opt-ins and opt-outs and divide them by all subscribers multiplied by 100.
Are subscribers increasing? Sounds good. It is vital to monitor the active audience's growth (or decline). But who do you consider an active audience?
These are the subscribers with the most email engagement, bringing the revenue, and you should communicate with them with a high frequency via transactional emails, thank you emails, or promotional emails. Therefore, email marketers need to catch on to the issue early if they see a decline in engagement.
A strategic re-engagement program can help to keep the audience active.
This is the percentage of your audience clicking a link after opening your email. A higher CTR signifies that your content is working since you want more link clicks (for more engagement with your content). 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.
It’s the same as the click rate but is related to mobile devices like smartphones or tablets. Mobile click rates are usually lower than desktop click rates for obvious reasons. Users operate Safari, Chrome, or other browsers with a different layout than the others.
It’s easier to browse on a desktop using multiple browsers than mobile devices. Therefore you need to keep in mind that mobile engagement is highest on the weekends (depending on the audience demographics). However, professionals engage the most during the end of the working day.
When writing content for an email, keep in mind that users may view it on a desktop or mobile device. Therefore optimizing the content for a small screen is agreeable. However, when optimizing the content for mobile devices, ensure that it is effective for all major email providers.
For instance, only 0.1% of subscribers use Outlook, while 70% are iPhone users, thus affecting the mobile, open rate. It's hard to identify the type of device a subscriber is using, so you should use email marketing tools for small businesses to create optimized emails.
The metrics calculated based on emails open is the click-to-open rate reflecting the good or bad performance of the email.
For instance, if you see a low CTR but a high CTOR, subscribers are not convinced enough to open an email once they are engaged. It could be that email content is great but has a weak subject line. This way, the email underperformed, and subscribers would miss the awesome content in the email.
But here’s a twist - a low CTOR does not always mean low email performance. The content below expectations can also result in low engagement despite a catchy subject line. Aim for a 15% CTOR which is considered a good benchmark.
Now, onto numbers that bring us real money. Your recipient found your content engaging, so they clicked through to your links. Depending on how promising your email was and how well you maintained that promise on the landing page. They might just sign up from the new link and generate a sale for you.
Conversion rate is the percentage of email recipients that clicked away to a link from your email, completed the desired action, and achieved a desirable goal. This metric shows you the real results of your email marketing campaigns and indicates whether your efforts are bearing fruit.
A/B tests your CTAs to drive more people to your website to optimize the emails to optimize the emails. Make them more specific. Also, use countdown timers and limited-time offers to create a sense of urgency within your email.
A bounce occurs in the email marketing domain whenever a user doesn’t receive your email.
Bounce rate is the percentage of emails rejected by email servers and couldn’t be delivered. A high bounce rate reflects poorly on your brand’s reputation, turning you into a spam account in the eyes of email servers.
Facing any temporary issues in your emails? Start monitoring such matters to avoid any bigger concerns later on. Concerns like temporary blacklisting, a full mailbox, connection errors, or graylisting are the frequent causes of soft bounce rate.
Aim for a less than 0.5% soft bounce rate; otherwise, it’s considered bad filtering on the recipient domain side.
If your emails are being blacklisted or sending emails to inactive users, it can be the major reason for the hard bounce rate. At this point, look at the status messages or the code you receive when the email bounces. Keep the bounce rate below 0.5% (it should be a set benchmark) to avoid being indicated as bad email list health (with a 1+% bounce rate).
It is usually the first thing you should look at once the email is sent. If there’s a big deliverability issue (like the recipient server does not accept the email), a drop in the delivery rate is seen.
Email marketers should achieve a 99% delivery rate (higher is great!); however, it can vary from one email campaign to another. For instance, the delivery rate is usually low for the double opt-in or welcome emails. But a delivery rate below 97% can raise concerns, so it’s best to check the email address you are collecting.
To avoid inactive email users, use real-time validation to collect more helpful email addresses.
Interested in tracking the rate at which your list is growing? The list growth rate is the savior! Calculate the growing list by taking the new subscribers and subtracting it from the number of unsubscribes and dividing it by the total number of email addresses and then multiple by 100.
One may experience some hurdles, which is expected, so you need to focus on the ways to grow your list, engage more subscribers and attract new subscribers.
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.
Suppose many unsubscribes occur right after your latest email. In that case, this is likely a sign that this latest email was unappealing enough to your audience that many subscribers took the time to leave your mailing list. Find out the normal unsubscribe rate and watch for a sharp increase or change.
Well-executed email campaigns are great for brand awareness. In addition to bringing conversions for you, they also have the potential to attract new leads.
How? If readers enjoyed engaging with your email content, they might share it with a friend to help them out. This brings us to the email sharing rate.
Optimizing this metric will help you boost brand awareness and understand what kind of content your leads are interested in. If a particular type of blog generates a lot of shares through email, use the indicators to plan future campaigns. The recommended practice is to add social sharing buttons at the bottom of your emails and ask readers to share the content with a friend.
Include social channels most relevant to your reader base. Usually, these are just Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
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 openings 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 you’re opening your email can significantly boost 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.”
An open domain rate helps to ensure the success of email deliverability. With its help, you can see the percentage of the people who open the emails using a specific email provider.
This way, you can identify the domains with a spam filter and the problems you can run into.
For Apple Mail users, it’s hard to track the open domain rate, but it may still work for those who did not opt in to MPP.
Do you want to check how many people click on the emails using a specific email provider? When comparing the click rates of two email providers, you can identify any problems with an email domain's spam policy.
You need to find the average click rate between all providers and compare it individually.
You need to compare it with the previous open rate metric to use this metric. It helps you understand the number of returning consumers (re-engaged) to reopen an email. It could be that the customers are coming back because of the USP.
It could be a recent development in the information or improved content in the email. The easier way to keep customers engaged is to relay the information in new emails.
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.
You can understand how subscribers interact with your content by analyzing these metrics. Are you sending emails at the optimal time for each recipient? Is there too much content in the email to consume in one open? A best practice 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.
Trying to adjust your email frequency rate? For this purpose, the open per customer metric comes in handy.
Select the period you want to calculate (last 7 or 30 days). It may depend on the audience engagement or how frequently an email is sent. Let’s say you send 15 emails per month; the average number of opens in 30 days could be 1.6, so you might reconsider the email frequency. Sending fewer emails with the same opens per customer can increase the open rate. Therefore frequency is the key to a higher opening per customer.
Also known as the email read time, it is the rate that shows how many people open the emails that were actually read. This metric is useful for editorial emails, updates, privacy notices, etc. An emphasizing CTA will help increase the engagement time.
Whatever tool you use, the definition of “read” will vary, but it means emails that remain open for 8 or more seconds in most cases.
ROI in email marketing shows the value of email marketing program delivery versus the actual cost. Usually, email marketing costs are hard to measure if you do not have a proper budget. It consists of the costs of tools and the team you use.
This way, you can also calculate the potential ROI for a new project. An email marketing campaign can become your highest ROI out of any digital marketing campaign.
Ultimately, for an email campaign, you're using it 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, your campaign derives the lifetime value of subscribers, affiliate sales, product sales, or other monetary results.
The direct monetary value for every email sent is the revenue per email rate. You can forecast email revenue for every email campaign months ahead by calculating the different email types. A lower revenue per email could mean either the content, product, or service isn’t hitting the right subscribers or needs improvement.
You may realize a change in the high-level strategy for the emails, audience, or frequency. Whatever strategy change you initiate will also change the generated openings, so the revenue per open rate may increase or decrease.
Usually, marketers are not concerned with this metric, but it can help to increase the revenue changes and elevate it properly.
The unsubscribe rate is the percentage of email recipients who unsubscribed from your list after an email campaign.
Email marketers are often disappointed when someone unsubscribes. There’s no reason to be! Email unsubscribes are a great thing for your list as they automatically remove disengaged contacts and help you keep your list fresh. But if unsubscribes are exceptionally high (anywhere over 1%), you might not be targeting your leads well.
When growing your list, you should also focus on the number of unengaged subscribers and consider removing them.
If you send emails to those subscribers who are not engaging with the emails, you enter a graymail zone. It can hurt the email deliverability rate badly. Sadly, email clients can get tipped off by low engagement rates. To decrease the unengaged subscriber rate, you may want to purge your list.
Spam can be very discouraging for emails. Recipients may ignore this, but as an email marketer, you need to pay attention to the reason behind the spam complaints. Email service providers are all about ensuring quality, and therefore they track spam complaints. A higher rate means the email service provider can block your account.
They are likely to track a number, but you still need to identify the reason. Maybe improving copywriting requirements should be focused on to avoid spam filters. Once it's sorted out, you can increase the email campaign's opens, clicks, and conversion rates.
One of the complex goals is to increase the revenue from email marketing. Multiple KPIs can be used to attract more leads and persuade them to complete their sales funnel, leading to conversion. Focus on the click open rates and click to open rates when increasing lead generation.
Two things influence the active audience size, the active audience, and the unengaged subscribers. Therefore to increase the engagement rate and the number of subscribers, you need active audience trend, open rate, unsubscribe rate, conversion rate, and revenue per open rate.
When the goal is to increase the open rates, it's easy to be misled by the overall numbers. It's important to establish a benchmark that helps to rule out any email deliverability issue. Therefore, to improve your efforts, focus on bounce rate, total open rate, unsubscribe rate, spam complaint rate, mobile open rate, and engagement time.
To create email marketing reports, you need to use an email marketing tool like Mailmunch that allows users to evaluate their email campaign performance and deliverability performance.
This report displays the metrics for the specific recipient domains. Resolving any deliverability issue is possible too. If a certain provider shows a 30% lower open rate, bad inbox placement is likely to be blamed. Or, if there’s a spike in hard or soft bounce rate, it can cause an issue. All of these metrics can be seen in the email domain report.
You can use a campaign report based on the previous email domain report. This report allows you to monitor the campaign performance, i.e., look into the click-through rate via subject lines.
Not happy with the campaign or email domain report? It’s easier to figure out the issues in these reports with a soft bounce/hard bounce report. This way, you can identify the reason for the bad email list health or if the content is being blocked.
Understanding when customers open and click on the emails and whether their actions resonate with regular buying behavior or not can be seen with the open and click time report. The thing is - most of the open clicks happen after the campaign is sent out. But it can be possible that the customer does not buy something during the campaign. The purchase can occur after the campaign. Therefore you can benefit from scheduling your emails but first, begin the evaluation with the report.
It doesn’t matter how well you’ve designed an email campaign or how provocative your copy is if you can’t measure impact. This is why every email marketing campaign needs to have one clear goal. Then, you need to define the key measures that conclude whether you could accomplish that goal.
Email marketing metrics are these measures. KPIs like click-through rates and conversion rates help marketers decide what’s working and when to ditch a strategy.
Track and regulate these seven email marketing metrics to boost your revenue. Work on writing engaging subject lines and copy, and make sure your CTAs are clear and eye-catching. Segment your email list, personalize your campaigns, prune your email list, and take in user feedback. Testing is key! Mailmunch’s Marketing Analytics Tool is the “tool of the hour” that can help you grow your list!
A bookworm and a pet nerd at heart, Summra works as Content Writer at Mailmunch. She loves to play with keywords, titles, and multiple niches for B2B and B2C markets. With her 3 years of experience in creative writing and content strategy, she fancies creating compelling stories that your customers will love, igniting results for your business.