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To improve your email marketing strategy and reach your goals, you’ll need to constantly be monitoring campaign performance. But what metrics should you focus on?
In this article, we’ll walk you through the most important email marketing KPIsand how to stay on top of your performance.
Email marketing metrics, or key performance indicators (KPIs), offer a quantifiable way to gauge your email campaigns’ effectiveness. Here are 17 metrics every email marketer should understand.
The email delivery rate is a metric used to measure how many emails were delivered to the servers of your recipients’ email service providers.
Delivery rate is the number of delivered emails divided by the number of failed emails and multiplied by 100. But you don’t have to calculate it manually. Typically, an email marketing platform does it for you.
Keeping your email list clean and up to date is the best way to maintain a strong deliverability rate in the long term. Don’t hesitate to remove unengaged email addresses from your list!
Unlike delivery rate, email bounce rate is the percentage of emails that were not delivered successfully. High bounce rates (>5%) will hurt your sender reputation and email deliverability in the long run.
When you deal with deliverability issues, it’s important to distinguish between the different types. There are two types of email bounces: soft bounces and hard bounces.
A soft bounce happens when a message wasn’t delivered because of a temporary problem. Hard bounces represent the percentage of messages that failed to reach intended recipients due to a permanent problem, like the email address no longer existing.
The email bounce rate is the total number of bounced emails divided by the total number of emails sent, multiplied by 100.
Typically, your email marketing service provider monitors your bounce rate and calculates the share of soft bounces and hard bounces.
Soft bounces and hard bounces should be handled differently.
You can’t do much to prevent soft bounces. Most often, you just need to retry sending the email. But if the same issue occurs again and again, a soft bounce might eventually turn into a hard bounce. That’s why after a few failed attempts, it’s best to stop trying to send to that email address until you know how to resolve the problem.
When you’re facing hard bounces, you should review potential reasons for the issue. (Have you misspelled the recipient’s email address?) If you can’t find the specific reason for why your emails won’t deliver to a contact, remove the address from your mailing list.
With a quality email marketing software, you won’t need to worry about sorting out hard bounces. The platform blacklists them automatically.
The deliverability rate tells you how many emails reached the recipients’ inboxes out of the total number of emails sent. It strongly depends on your email sender reputation.
How does it differ from the delivery rate? The email delivery rate is calculated based on the number of delivered emails no matter which folder they landed in. On the other hand, email deliverability is all about the percentage of emails that made it to recipients’ inboxes.
Getting a grasp over your email deliverability metrics over a longer period of time is a great indicator for moments in time when you’re in need of a list purge. Not only to ensure that you’re keeping your list engaged, but that your domain doesn’t take a hit because you have an unhealthy balance of successful sends vs. bounces.
People are going to always change jobs, go on leave, get laid off, quit, you name it. So, making sure your list is fresh and as up-to-date as possible never hurts!
The deliverability rate is calculated by dividing the number of recipients who received an email in their inbox by the total number of contacts on the mailing list. Email services inform you of the number of emails that reached recipients successfully so that you can easily see the deliverability.
As your mailing list keeps growing, managing deliverability rates requires some special attention.
Deliverability depends on many factors. Luckily, you can control most of them:
The email open rate is a metric indicating how many people opened your email out of the total number of recipients.
Don’t judge the success of your campaign by its average open rate. Open rates will differ significantly depending on a number of factors. It’s important that you track open rates by:
Your email service provider should allow you to filter the data by these factors so that you can split your audiences and optimize campaigns for different audience groups if necessary.
When analyzing open rates, be sure you’re comparing similar email types. For example, don’t compare the open rate of an onboarding email to the open rate of a newsletter. Instead, look at the overall evolution of your newsletter open rates and use the data to experiment with send-out times and subject lines.
Email open times allow you to understand when your audience is more eager to interact with your email and optimize your campaign schedule accordingly.
Why is this metric important? By tracking email open times, you can improve campaign open rates.
The shorter the average time to open, the more people will notice your email.
You should be able to see the statistics on email opens by hour right in your campaign performance dashboard.
You can decrease the average time to open by testing different times to send for different audience segments. If you’re targeting audiences in different time zones, split your mailing list by location and create custom schedules for separate audience groups.
Email read time is an email marketing metric telling you how much time subscribers spend reading through your email content. It’s an easy way to assess the relevance of your campaign content to the audience you’re engaging with.
For instance, if your email has high open rates, but email read time is only a few seconds, it’s clear that your subject line is way more engaging than the campaign content.
It’s also an important metric for measuring the effectiveness of content distribution campaigns or emails that don’t include any links. It shows how your audience interacts with your email content and helps you adjust for future campaigns.
Email read time isn’t a common metric to track. If your email marketing platform provides you with the statistics on email read time, you’ll see them in the reporting dashboard.
However, to access the metric, you’ll most likely need to turn to a third-party analytics solution.
Improving an email read rate usually requires some trial and error. Try testing different combinations of catchy subject lines and engaging content. You’ll need to work on the email structure and layout, experiment with content types, and master personalization techniques. Most importantly, you should avoid clickbait subject lines that garner opens but result in short read times.
Subscriber list count is the total number of email addresses on your mailing list. The more subscribers you have, the more meaningful results you can expect from your email marketing campaigns.
You’ll find the subscriber list count at the top of your email marketing dashboard.
You can increase the size of your mailing list by running lead generation campaigns. You’ll need a lead magnet (an incentive for users to share their contact information with you), a lead capture form, and a distribution strategy.
If you have decent website traffic, you can distribute a lead magnet across your own site. If you don’t, a paid advertising campaign will help you put your lead magnet in front of the right people.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the size of your mailing list doesn’t matter as much as its quality. To attract subscribers that might eventually turn into customers, craft a lead magnet that’s highly relevant to your offers.
By calculating your email list growth rate, you can measure the effectiveness of your lead generation efforts. Though, if you’re not actively running lead capture campaigns, this metric won’t have much to offer..
The subscriber list growth rate is the total number of new subscribers on your list minus the number of unsubscribed contacts divided by the total number of subscribers, multiplied by 100.
List growth rate = (new subscribers – unsubscribers) / total subscribers x 100
It only makes sense to calculate this metric if you’re consistently working to generate leads and can compare your results over specific time frames (week-by-week or month-by-month).
The list growth rate can be improved only by increasing the number of leads you’ve gained in a given time frame, typically through lead generation campaigns.
The unsubscribe rate indicates the percentage of people who opted out of your mailing list after receiving an email. According to Sendinblue’s Email Marketing Industry Benchmark Report, the average unsubscribe rate across industries is 0.05%. We also strongly recommend that you keep your unsubscribe rate no higher than 2% to maintain a healthy sender reputation.
To calculate unsubscribe rate, you should divide the number of unsubscribes by the total number of emails delivered and multiply it by 100.
You’ll find the unsubscription rate automatically calculated for each campaign right in the Sendinblue dashboard.
You can take the following steps to keep your unsubscription rate low:
The click rate is the percentage of successfully delivered emails that resulted in a click. While the number of clicks alone doesn’t tell much about your campaign performance, the click rate is a meaningful metric.
The click rate is the number of people who clicked on at least one link in your email divided by the total number of emails delivered, multiplied by 100. It’s always displayed alongside the open rate in your campaign dashboard.
The average click rate globally is 1.27%.
A low click rate means you’re reaching the wrong people or sending the wrong content (or both). To increase it, try following a three-step approach:
Click-to-open rate (CTOR) is the percentage of total link clicks from people who have opened your email. This email marketing metric indicates:
CTOR is calculated by dividing the number of link clicks by the total number of unique opens and multiplying the result by 100.
There are two ways for you to improve CTOR:
Conversion rate is the percentage of people who have completed the desired action after interacting with your email.
Despite popular belief, conversions aren’t necessarily sales. You can define any campaign goal as a conversion. It can be a call-to-action (CTA) click, webinar signup, certain scroll depth, or any other consumer behavior.
Email marketing is a traditionally effective channel to drive subscribers to a target action, whether it’s a purchase or a product sign-up.
To calculate the conversion rate, you should divide the number of people converted by the total number of emails delivered and multiply it by 100.
Email marketing platforms don’t calculate conversion rates by default. To do it automatically, you’ll need to use UTM parameters for links included in your emails and set up email conversion tracking with your analytics solution. (Google Analytics will do!) Or, you can use Sendinblue’s conversion tracking feature.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for boosting your email conversion rates. Depending on your campaign goal, you might need to work on your mailing list, optimize email content, design more appealing landing pages, etc.
For outreach campaigns, the reply rate should be your key performance indicator. If you expect recipients to respond to your emails, you can define a reply as a conversion.
The reply rate is the number of email responses divided by the number of emails delivered, multiplied by 100.
First of all, you should make it clear you expect a response to your email. Other than that, you’ll need to apply conversion rate optimization techniques such as:
Revenue per campaign is an email marketing metric that allows you to assess the monetary profits your email campaigns deliver. It’s a critical performance indicator if your ultimate campaign goal is a sale.
You don’t have to calculate revenue per campaign manually if you have a proper analytics set up.
If you set up conversion tracking with your email marketing service provider, you’ll also be able to see the revenue per email campaign. Of course, it’s only possible when you define a completed order as a conversion.
Before you can increase revenues per email campaign, you need to improve other related metrics, like open rates and conversion rates. To do so, you should apply the optimization techniques we listed above.
Once you know how to engage your subscribers and drive them to your desired action, try these methods to grow your revenues:
Revenue per subscriber is an email marketing metric that calculates the average monetary value of one subscriber on your email list. It allows you to evaluate your lead generation and email marketing efforts and understand whether your strategy is profitable or not.
Alternatively, you can use this metric to calculate the average revenue generated per subscriber from a specific email campaign.
Revenue per subscriber is the total revenue from all your email campaigns divided by the number of contacts on your mailing list.
The best way to increase revenue per email subscriber is by generating quality leads. The more relevant people you attract to your mailing list, the higher value they will bring you.
Email marketing ROI (return on investment) is one of the most important metrics related to the cost-efficiency of your email campaigns. It determines whether the resources spent on email marketing (salaries, ad spend, etc.) pay off.
To measure email marketing ROI, you need to subtract the total email marketing spend from the total gain from your campaigns over a given time frame, divide the result by the total spend, and multiply it by 100.
Similar to revenue, high email marketing ROI is achieved through continuous improvement of other email marketing metrics. In the short term, you can work toward a good ROI by following these tips:
Spam complaint rate is a measure of how often your subscribers send your emails to spam.
Both spam complaint and unsubscribe rates are very important metrics to keep track of. If too many people are responding negatively to your marketing emails, this can negatively affect your overall sender reputation and affect future campaigns.
When frustrated with email content, users may send your message to the spam folder. If this happens too often, more and more of your emails will land directly in recipients’ spam folders. To prevent this, you need to measure your spam complaint rate and keep it below 0.01-0.02%.
Spam complaint rate is the number of people who mark your email as spam out of the total number of email recipients. Your email marketing platform should provide you with the statistics.
Most often, you mark a message as spam when you’re annoyed and can’t easily find the unsubscribe button. So to reduce the spam complaint rate, you can:
This is an email marketing metric that’s not exactly a metric.
An email heat map, or click map, is a report that visualizes the way your subscribers interact with your email content. It displays the areas with the highest and lowest activity so that you can adjust your content structure accordingly and place links in the most potentially effective areas.
How do you actually monitor all these email marketing metrics? How do you identify which metrics are worth measuring for your business and which ones aren’t?
Your email marketing platform must provide email analytics. Without it, there’s not much you can do to improve your marketing strategy.
So be sure to look at what metrics it provides. Is it easy to extract and compare performance data?
Sendinblue tracks all email marketing KPIs from your account dashboard.
Once you’ve picked the right platform, the second question is: how do you decide which metrics you should be tracking?
Obviously, you don’t need to track every single one of the 17 metrics on this list for every campaign you run. You can do so of course, but you’re likely to end up with a fair bit of unnecessary data.
Instead, focus on several email marketing metrics for each campaign based on that campaign’s goals. For instance, to measure the effectiveness of a content distribution campaign, you should focus on open rates, email read time, and click-through rates rather than conversions and ROI.
Whatever your overarching objective is — from customer acquisition to traffic generation — it’s good to target less significant but impactful goals like “improving an email open rate by 10%” or “boosting a clickthrough rate by 25%.” By setting smaller-scale goals like these, you’ll be getting closer to your bigger campaign objectives, step-by-step.
With very specific goals, you’ll be able to focus on the most meaningful metric(s) case by case and progress steadily toward your overarching goals.
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