10 Essential Email Marketing Metrics

Your email campaign is set in motion; now it’s time to monitor and measure its success.

Before you can do that, however, you’ve got to understand the goal of your campaign. While your ultimate goal is likely to generate sales, marketing campaigns may center around re-engagement, brand awareness, collecting more data, and so on.

Email marketing metrics to track against:

1. Delivery Rate

Clicking “send” isn’t an indication that your email was properly delivered to every subscriber’s inbox. You spend so much time and effort crafting emails; make sure people are actually able to see them by maximizing email deliverability.

A number of factors impact deliverability; some you can control and some you can’t. By controlling what you can, such as the quality of your email and a clean recipient list, you ensure your email reaches as many inboxes as possible.

2. Open Rate

It’s great when people receive your emails, but it doesn’t do you much good if they don’t bother opening them. Much like deliverability and the other metrics listed here, you want to track open rates for every individual email and adjust accordingly.

The ideal open rate depends on your industry; set the average for your specific area of business as a benchmark and measure your open rates against it.

3. Click-Through Rate

Click-through rate, or CTR, refers to how many people clicked a link within your email out of all recipients.

It’s important to track the overall CTR for your email, but dive deeper into what links are getting the most clicks. If you have a link to your website, a CTA that directs to a specific landing page, and icons that link out to your social media pages, look at the CTRs for each. Keep in mind that if a recipient clicks an unsubscribe link, it could be included in the overall click-through rate.

4. Click-to-Open Rate

Different from CTR, your click-to-open rate (CTO) indicates how many clicks an email had out of total opens. It provides insight into how well your subject line and email content worked in tandem. If you had a high open rate and low CTO, the subject line was effective but the email itself may have missed the mark; if the open rate was low but the CTO was high, the subject line wasn’t intriguing or catchy enough.

5. Unsubscribe Rate

As much as you don’t want anyone to unsubscribe from your email list, inevitably it will happen. Tracking patterns of what types of emails get the highest unsubscribe rates allows marketers to understand what their audience is and is not interested in, and what types of content get the most engagement.

If you notice spikes in unsubscribes after making some conscious changes to your strategy or campaign, such as segmentation, trying a new template or sending emails at a drastically different time, you’ll need to reconsider the updates.

Remember that a small number of unsubscribes is healthy; it keeps your list clean and ensures emails are being sent to the people who are most likely to engage with them. On the other hand, if you are noticing consistently high rates, you may need to rethink your strategy. Make sure your messages are staying faithful to the initial promise you made to subscribers.

6. Bounce Rates

An email bounce is the percentage of people who didn’t receive your email because it was returned by a recipient mail server. There are two kinds of bounces: hard bounces and soft bounces.

Hard bounces occur when a person’s email address is invalid; either the recipient’s email was deleted or the email was entered incorrectly. On the other hand, a soft bounce is temporary, and happens because of a server issue on the receiving end or when a person’s inbox is full. Depending on the marketing platform you use to send emails, the system will automatically try to resend the email a certain number of times.

7. Spam Complaints

An email recipient marking you as spam signals they find your content unhelpful, irrelevant, and possibly even irritating. Similar to unsubscribes, track spam complaints closely for every email to note trends in the types of content or subject lines that have higher rates. Look at spam complaints in conjunction with unsubscribes as well; if both numbers are high it tells you that you need to make some changes.

8. Social Shares

Worldwide, 3.48 billion people use social media-that’s nearly half of the global population. Including social sharing options within your email can increase engagement, and high social shares means your content was not just interesting to read, but your audience felt so connected to it that they wanted to spread the word to their peers.

9. Forwards

Forwarding an email is like sharing via social, with one key difference: people on the receiving end of forwarded emails tend to be more receptive since the message was targeted directly to them. Social posts can sometimes get lost in users’ feeds, as there is so much content being published every day.

10. Conversion Rate

Your definition of a “conversion” will be different for each email depending on the goals of your campaign. It could be when a person makes a purchase, downloads a piece of content, fills out a form, registers for an event, signs up for a demo, or anything else. Ultimately conversion rates determine the campaign’s success. Knowing why you’re measuring is just as important as what you’re measuring.

Email campaigns will take some trial and error; it’s unlikely you’ll nail them right from the beginning. By tracking and analyzing the metrics above, you’ll be able to understand what does and does not resonate with your target customers.



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