Email marketing can take a lot of time to master. Not only do you need to keep best practices in mind for every campaign you create, you also have to optimize emails for increased engagement and eventually lead to more sales.
However, these alone do not ensure success. You can pour a bunch of effort into email marketing and still see no result if you don't act regularly based on data and insights. This critical piece that I'm mentioning is** understanding how to measure the results of your efforts.**
Before developing any campaign or even reading a new resource, take a step back, slow down and first determine your goals for your email marketing campaigns, and then decide how you can measure your success (or failure, no shame about that).
Each email marketing campaign is different, especially when you can have different goals based on the business stage, but there are some metrics that every email marketer should learn to track. Then, whether you want to generate more leads or grow the subscriber base, you will know which number to look at for improvements.
Read on to discover the most significant email marketing metrics you must know to track your campaigns.
What are metric types in email marketing?
Let's start with the basics: What are email marketing's metrics?
The purpose of email marketing metrics is to help guide your campaigns into achieving the goals you need for the campaigns to be successful. It is impossible to rely on only one, two, or three metrics to tell the real results of a campaign. What you need is a set of relevant metrics that make up a balanced scorecard.
However, it is not easy to Identify the right email marketing metrics for your business. You will probably have to go through several hits and misses until you find which work for you and measure your campaign's success in the right way.
But, once you set the metrics right, tracking the email marketing metrics will not only allow you to measure the final result of your email marketing campaign, but also track the performance of your email campaigns and your SMART goals in real time.
The key metrics for email marketers fall into two categories:
On-mail metrics: these refer to the recipients' interaction with the message itself. You can track these metrics directly by the email marketing platform, automatically available and easy to read. These metrics include openings, clicks, bounces, unsubscriptions, and so on.
Off-mail metrics: these measure the results that originate in the email campaigns to then go to other places, for example to an e-commerce site, website or blog. Off-mail metrics analyze various aspects of email marketing, such as the volume of traffic generated, conversion rate, the average purchase amount, and so on. These are often provided by analytics systems outside of the email platform, such as Google Analytics.
Today I will focus primarily on on-mail KPIs since you can easily find a marketing platform to measure these metrics and grow your e-business. For instance, our app AVADA Email Marketing helps users see all the important metrics of an email marketing campaign like send, open, click, click-through, conversion, and revenue with an easy to track performance chart.
Most significant metrics in email marketing
Let's view all the most significant metrics you should be paying attention to when running an email marketing campaign. We will start with metrics that every email marketer should track, and then see how these metrics can assist your specific marketing goals.
1. Open rate
Open rate is the most basic email marketing metric and is essential to understand how well your subscribers receive your messages. This simple metric shows how many subscribers opened the emails you sent.
It is also the best way to give you insight into the success or failure of your subject line. For example, studies show that personalized subject lines that use subscribers names have 50% higher open rates. Other strategies, such as using emoticons or keeping subject lines direct and short, can also increase open rates. But you need to test on your own customers for the best approach.
Most email campaigns have an average open rate of a little over 21% for all industries. If you manage to have an email campaign with open rates higher than that, you know you are doing very well. Open rate email marketing metric is a great way to guide your next campaign in the right direction if you haven't reached your goals yet.
2. Click through rate (CTR)
Click through rate is another common metric that can help determine whether your campaigns are performing well or not. The metric measures how many people clicked on the links you put in your email. For example, if your emails included a link to redeem a coupon, the CTR would show what percentage of subscribers clicked on that link.
When crafting an email, you have many ways to increase click-through rates. For example, you can reshow the link throughout the email in appropriate places and add a conspicuous and attractive call-to-action button. That way, subscribers would feel much more tempting to click on and redeem your offer.
Typically, click through rates are much lower than open rates, with the average rate for most campaigns is slightly over 7%. But that is normal, since CTR is the gateway to more conversions - if more people click on your links, you have more opportunities to make them take the desired action.
Formula: (Total clicks OR unique clicks / Number of sent emails) x 100
3. Unique click rate
Within your email metrics, make sure to differentiate the click through rate with unique click rate – which shows the number of single users who have clicked or opened at least once. In this case, the unique click rate can help you see if your email campaign attracted a large number of recipients to certain groups to revisit the emails.
The data obtained in this manner is more precise for the total count, but you don't always have to distinguish this level. It is more convenient if your email marketing platform already has this feature. So you can understand the performance of a campaign, and compare the unique click rat with more general values like Open rate and Click through rate.
4. Bounce Rate
This is a commonly used term for content marketing, but for email marketing, bounce rate is the percentage of your total delivered emails that could not successfully enter the recipient's inbox. When a bounce occurs, there will be a return-to-sender message from the recipient's mail server to diagnose issues.
When viewing bounce rate, you can determine whether there is anything you can do on your end, like obtaining an updated email address from your recipients, to ensure success on the second try. There are generally two types of bounces to know about:
Hard Bounces: Non-existing or invalid email addresses
Soft Bounces: Issues due to the problem at the recipient's server.
If you buy your lists (which is highly unrecommended) or don't clean your list often, and keep many inactive email addresses, your bounce rate can be very high. A poor bounce rate would damage your reputation as a sender - which makes the difference between your recipients receiving emails, or your emails being sent straight into the spam box.
While a bounce rate doesn't directly link to your campaign goals, you should often take a look at it to make sure you have no deep issues with your emails, ensuring a better deliverability.
5. List Growth Rate
List growth rate measures the speed at which your email list is growing, which means keeping tabs on your list's growth, as well as loss. Of course, you should be aiming for the continuous expansion of your list, find more audience, and engage with subscribers as an industry thought leader.
Formula: [(Number of new subscribers - Number of unsubscribes) / Total number of email addresses]) * 100
6. Unsubscribe rate
Measuring unsubscribes is pretty straightforward. Any email platform should tell you how many people unsubscribed upon receiving an email campaign from you. This metric is usually found in your main dashboard or a campaign's metrics dashboard.
A high rate of unsubscribes can be quite discouraging. However, email marketers can view unsubscribes as a good thing since they indicate that you are cleaning your subscriber list and only have the ones interested in your content left. The unsubscribe number is also not a reliable metric to indicate the health of an email list, because many subscribers just stop opening a brand's emails for no particular reason.
That said, you should always clearly give subscribers the opportunity to unsubscribe and let them know they can choose over what kind of content they receive from your brand and when. This process creates a more personalized email experience and helps to build trust with subscribers.
You only need to check the unsubscribe rate about once a month to calculate your overall list growth rate, so don't worry about it too much.
7. Spam score
Your emails getting marked as spam sounds like a terrifying thing. You may prefer to ignore this metric but it's still important to pay attention to recipient's spam complaints.
An anti-spam software can analyze an email in its components and give a number of points based on each item they perceive as a spam risk. If your spam score gets too high, it's possible an email service provider will take action against your emails and block your account.
Your email service platform is likely to track this number for you, but you still should keep an eye on it yourself to make sure that your emails have no technical faulty and your copywriting meets desired standards. Then, your emails can smoothly enter subscribers' inboxes.
8. Forwarding/Sharing rate
This rate demonstrates the percentage of email recipients who clicked on a "forward to a friend" button or the "share this" button to post your email content to a social network. The rate at which your email gets forwarded with others may not seem all that significant, but it can be one of the most important metrics you should be tracking.
Because this is the speed of you generating new contacts. The subscribers are already in your database. So you can increase conversion, but can't attract more new leads. That is why you should encourage your readers to forward your emails to a friend, family member, or a colleague if they found the content interesting. Then, you can start tracking how many new people you attract to your database with this tactic.
Developing brand advocates through email campaigns is a great strategy, considering that 81% of consumer's purchasing decisions are influenced by their friends' social media posts.
Formula: (Number of clicks on a forward and/or share button / Number of total delivered emails) x 100
9. Overall ROI
Return on investment is undoubtedly one of the key email marketing metrics to monitor because it can accurately measure the cost-effectiveness of your campaigns. Or in other words, how much your email campaigns earn you in comparison with the costs you used to implement them.
You should be able to calculate the overall ROI of your email marketing effort with an email platform. If you want a different approach for your business, set up a system to assign different values to various types of leads based on their chance of generating revenue. That way, you have a clear picture of your investment and revenue.
How many new leads did you generate via email marketing? How much is their potential revenue? The actual revenue after that? These are the types of ROI metrics that will help you prove how valuable email marketing is as a channel that drives real results.
Formula: [(Revenue from an email campaign – Campaign costs) / Campaign costs] x 100
10. Conversion rate
Technically an off-mail metric, your conversion rate helps assess how many people clicked on your email's links and completed a specific action. Some examples of actions are: make a purchase, fill out a subscription form, read an article on your blog, request a quote, or sign up to join an event or webinar.
Conversion rates give you unique insights into your ROI. When you know how much you have spent and how many subscribers took the desired action, it's easier to determine if the money you are putting into your email campaign is paying off or not.
Aloo, the conversion rate links directly to your call-to-action quality. So you can experiment and frequently test CTAs to guarantee their maximum effectiveness with a higher conversion rate after each adjustment.
Formula: (Number of users who completed the desired action / Emails delivered) x 100
11. Engagement over time
The engagement over time metric gives you information on the best times or days to send emails.
With your email service provider, you can send automated emails based on customer behavior or trigger, then the tracking feature will monitor the engagement over time and tell when you get the highest open rates or click rates. The same goes for emails that are not automated.
For example, AVADA Email Marketing automates this feature for both automated and un-automated emails, gathering all the data for you. However, it's not a bad idea if you want to track this metric on your own and determine the best sending times for your industry and your subscriber base.
Other notable metrics in email marketing
The goal of your email marketing can be very different from the goals of another company, even in the same industry. Your goals can even vary within your own strategy over time. However, it's crucial that you determine what you're looking to achieve with an email marketing campaign before you start sending and measuring.
Here are some more notable email marketing metrics that you can track for your campaigns, which will provide better insights in addition to the above metrics.
Mobile open/click rate
Refining your data and picking out possible rooms for improvement is a fantastic way to improve your email marketing effort. A great starting point is tracking your mobile open/click rate.
The mobile open rate works the same way as the regular open rate, but it applies only to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. During the weekday, while people are at work, they are more likely to check emails with desktops, while mobile open rates are often higher during the weekends.
For mobile click rate, this is usually much lower than desktop click rates because with a computer, users can operate multiple windows and complicated browsing maneuvers. These habits are much easier on a personal computer than a phone.
From the mobile open/click rate, you can make your email engagement process as easy as possible on mobile. This should be a priority since more and more people are now opening emails on their smartphones.
Opening time is a great email marketing metric to track because if you know when subscribers open your emails, you have insights to significantly boost your open rate.
For example: your newsletter may have a much higher open rate on Wednesday mornings than on Saturday afternoons. With this information, you can tailor the sending time of your newsletters and increase the open rates.
Different from the engagement over time metric, the opening time only focuses on the open rate, so it is more suitable for newsletter and regular content emails.
Repeat opens are a highly valuable yet underrated metric to track with email marketing. Based on the metric, you can build segmented audience lists and create tailored emails for each group: The top openers with high engagement, The regular readers, The group that only open when there is a discount, you name it.
Each group will have distinctive behaviors, so you can take advantage and achieve your goals better. For example, if you want to ask for a review or event participation, the high engagement group is the better choice. For low engagement groups, you can have more catchy headlines to encourage re-engagement.
Revenue per subscriber
Like some other email marketing performance metrics, measuring revenue per subscriber allows for a more detailed look at the ROI.
By calculating this metric, you can find out which demographics are resulting in your business's revenue and which aren't. With this information, you can change the emails, shift focus to a particular demographic, or reallocate resources and focus less on a particular demographic.
Revenue per email
Calculating ROI will show you the overall return on investment, but if you can analyze the revenue per email, you can see the individual success of the emails.
Measuring this figure will help you easily figure out which emails perform best and if there are any that are bringing down the ROI of the campaign.
Every business has active, passive, and inactive email audiences. However, most treat them the same. So, another important metric that email marketers should focus on is understanding the activity levels of subscribers. If you don't pay attention to this metric, you're going to hurt your sending reputation, and may not even reach the recipients that want to hear from you over time.
To calculate the number of active audiences, take the number of unique people that have opened/clicked at least one email within a specific time frame (a month is ideal) and divide this by the number of unique people that were sent at least one email within the specific time frame.
If your active audience rate falls below 25%, you should start improving your list segmentation strategy and also suppressing your inactive audience.
How to match your email campaigns with suitable metrics
If you still feel a bit clueless about email marketing metrics, I have gathered a general list of the most common email marketing campaigns with metrics that many companies are using to track their success. Keep in mind that as goals change based on your specific campaigns change, so should you carefully select the email metrics to track.
The following are some examples of the different email metrics you should track as the goals of an email marketing campaign:
Customer Acquisition: To know if your email campaigns really generate new sales, you should focus more on metrics that track purchase behavior - such as purchases, conversion rate, and purchase rate. While you still care about metrics like open and click rates (because people won't buy if they can't even see your message), more emphasis should be put on purchase behavior in terms of measuring the success of a customer acquisition email campaign.
Customer Marketing: When you are running customer marketing email campaigns, you can worry less about metrics like click rate and instead focus more on engagement or usage metrics that tell you which actual actions your email campaign influenced. A metrics like click rate doesn't matter much in these instances, because even if you have a great click rate and the emails didn't inspire product usage, it is ultimately not a success.
**Lead Generation: **Most newsletters, ebooks, webinars, courses, and other forms of premium content experiences are to develop relationships with consumers who may not be ready to buy your product or service. With these subsequent email campaigns, you should measure things like click rate, open rate, conversion rates, conversions, etc., to measure the success of your email campaigns on nurturing subscribers closer to potential purchase.
Quick note: For lead generation, you need not necessarily focus on downstream metrics like purchases because many of these leads may not be ready yet. Measuring a lead generation campaign with metrics like purchases might put unnecessary pressure on an email campaign simply designed to drive engagement with content.
Instead, you should measure the level of engagement recipients have with additional content to help their education.
You can even prioritize metrics like 'unsubscribe rate' to ensure that the content you are using to nurture people is resonating. After all, you don't want to sabotage the email list you've worked so hard building just because it promotes irrelevant content.
As obvious as this all seems, you'd be surprised to know that many email marketers determine their goals and then don't even bother to track their progress. If you can escape from that crowd and start looking carefully at any changes in your email marketing' metrics month over month, you are on the right track to be more effective with your campaigns.
These most significant metrics in email marketing will help you measure email performance, your list's health, and your progress towards goals. If you have other metrics that you use with your email campaigns, share in the comments! Thanks for reading!