10 Essential Email Marketing Metrices & KPIs

So, you’ve started an email marketing campaign.

Whether you’re highlighting a new product or convincing leads to re-engage, you’ve undoubtedly spent time determining the best copy and images to use.

Know why you’re measuring before you start tracking.

Not all email marketing campaigns are designed to generate sales (though this is most likely your ultimate goal).

Other objectives could include re-engagement, brand awareness, growing another email list, collecting more data about subscribers, and so on.

Learn the next steps by effectively tracking the performance of your campaign.

Far too many marketers track only 3-5 KPIs. But there are actually ten that must be monitored in order to get the full picture.

Here are 10 essential email marketing metrics and KPIs to help you truly optimize your campaigns in digital marketing.

essential email marketing metrics and KPIs

#1: Number of emails delivered

Just because you have ten, hundred, or thousand names on your email list does not mean your emails are being delivered.

This is due to the fact that achieving a 100% deliverability rate is actually impossible.

For example, if 85 per cent of your emails arrive in the inbox, the remaining 15% may as well not exist.

So, if you have 1,000 people on your list, 150 of them will never receive your email.

Second, you must determine whether there is a sudden drop in deliverability.

A marketer may be blacklisted by an ISP for no fault of their own, especially if they use a shared—rather than dedicated—IP address.

If you suddenly can’t email anyone with a Gmail address, for example, you must act quickly to determine why and resolve the issue.

One disclaimer: There is a distinction between an email being “delivered” and actually reaching the inbox.

It could be delivered but end up in the junk folder of the recipient.

As a result, more marketers are beginning to use the Inbox Placement Rate (IPR) as a KPI to determine how many emails actually make it to the inbox.

#2: Number of emails opened

It’s not enough to simply make it into the inbox.

You should also keep track of how many emails are opened.

Even if you get 85 per cent of your emails delivered and have a 79 per cent IPR, that doesn’t mean your message is being received.

That is why you must monitor the open rate.

The open rate, like deliverability, should be tracked and adjusted as needed.

To establish a baseline, you should compare your open rates to those in your industry.

Make sure the comparison is industry-specific because some industries, such as finance and hospitality, typically have higher open rates.

(which makes sense given that people will open emails from their banks and hotels they frequent) — so don’t compare to a broad standard.

Keep in mind that some people use email preview panes.

This can cause email opens that aren’t actually opened to be recorded.

Also, even if they are opened, text-only emails will not be counted.

#3: Click-through rate

The click-through rate (CTR) is the number of people who clicked on a link in your email.

However, in contrast to open and deliverability, you’ll need to delve a little deeper.

For each campaign, you must know not only which links intrigued their interest, but also where those links were found.

For example, if the majority of your clicks are above the fold, you’ve passed the blink test.

If you offered the same link but phrased it differently and one performed better than the other, you can optimize your text CTA accordingly.

Also, contrast buttons with text links.

Remember to keep track of what recipients clicked on.

Clicking on the unsubscribe link may count as a click, which is a WARNING SIGN!

#4: Click-to-open rate

The number of opens divided by the number of click-throughs is your click-to-open (CTO) rate.

How many of those who opened your email actually clicked on a link?

This metric indicates how well your subject line and content complement each other.

There was a disconnect if your subject line generated a lot of opens but few clicks.

If you had a lot of clicks but few opens, it means you had a great offer but failed to nail the subject line.

Other factors that can affect your open rate include the quality of your list, the sender’s email address, the day/time you send, and so on.

#5: Unsubscribe rate

This KPI is absolutely necessary!

You can learn a lot from your unsubscribe rate.

For example, it means that people did not report your email as spam; they simply were no longer interested in your emails and had them on the wrong list.

Keep an eye out for trends in your unsubscribe rate, especially after implementing a change such as segmentation, a template redesign, or a new sending schedule.

If the number of unsubscribes suddenly increases in response to the change, you should reconsider the change.

Remember that people who unsubscribe do so voluntarily because they do not want to be on your list, which is much better for the long-term health of your deliverability.

#6: Bounce rate (hard and soft)

A hard bounce is permanent, whereas a soft bounce is only temporary.

In most cases, hard bounces are caused by invalid email addresses.

This occurs when a person leaves a job (email address is deleted) or when an email address is entered incorrectly (ex: with a typo).

Hard bounces should be taken seriously because they indicate that you’re falling behind on list cleansing.

It could also mean that you should use double opt-in or another method to ensure that email addresses are entered correctly.

When you receive hard bounces, you must remove those addresses from your list as soon as possible because those email addresses will never work again.

Soft bounces, on the other hand, are only temporary and are the result of a problem on the receiving end.

For example, the inbox could be full or a server could be down.

Depending on your email service provider or email marketing platform, the system will automatically try to resend the message a limited number of times.

#7: Spam complaints

Monitor spam complaints alongside your unsubscribes because some people simply report emails as spam rather than going through the trouble of unsubscribing.

If both KPIs are trending in the same direction, you know something is up. Also, keep an eye on this number if you make any changes.

#8: Social shares

This KPI measures social media engagement and is a good indicator of the quality of your content.

Make it simple for your readers to share your content by including social sharing buttons in your emails.

One email blog I read has such great content but makes it so difficult to share that it’s almost comical.

The only link in the entire email points back to their homepage, after which you must click and navigate through various sub-menus to reach their blog.

To make matters worse, they send out the article via email days before they post it on their blog.

The only way I can share it is to set a reminder to return to their blog in a couple of days to see if they’ve posted it, THEN I can share it.

#9: Forwards

This KPI is similar to social shares, but there is one key difference to remember :

People who receive email forwards are more receptive to the content. On the other hand, people who receive content shared with them via social channels are less receptive.

This is because a forward is equivalent to answering the phone or receiving a physical letter in the mail…

It stands out because it is uncommon. Again, you want to increase the level of engagement as well as the share-worthy quality of your content.

#10: Conversions

Finally, the most important KPI: is conversion which also plays a vital role in online digital marketing.

Don’t think of this in monetary terms.

A conversion could be a sale, a registration for an event, a subscription, or registering for a demo. Furthermore, it can be downloading a piece of content, or something else, depending on the goal of your email campaign.

Finally, you can set different objectives for your email marketing campaigns.

Knowing why you’re measuring is just as important as knowing what you’re measuring, and this is especially true when it comes to conversion tracking.

Time to start tracking these email marketing metrics

Now that you’ve learned the 10 most important email marketing metrics and KPIs, start testing to help enhance your future campaigns.

This allows you to set new goals that are unrelated to conversions. Moreover as increasing your subscriber rate or decreasing the number of spam complaints.


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