Email Marketing: Key Metrics

Digital Marketing in Business: A Complete Opportunity Overview
Digital Marketing in Business: A Complete Opportunity Overview
October 26, 2020
Types of Content and Basic Requirements
Types of Content and Basic Requirements
October 27, 2020
Show all

Email Marketing: Key Metrics

Email Marketing: Key Metrics
It is not possible to measure the success of an email marketing campaign with a single metric. It is necessary to define a set of metrics that correspond to the overall strategy of the e-mail campaign, its goals and scenarios for communication with segments. The goals of the campaign can be different: lead generation, increasing engagement, informing about offers, building loyalty, converting leads into customers. To assess each goal, its own key metric and a set of additional ones are provided. For example, when engagement increases, we estimate the percentage of clicks, when informing - the percentage of openings, and conversion will be a key metric for the goal of converting leads into customers. Below are some key email marketing metrics and how to work with them.

Understanding Metrics

Distinguish between internal and external metrics. Internal metrics cover the process from sending an email to going to a landing page. Meaning, they measure subscriber engagement and mailing quality. External metrics are designed to assess the final results: the number of attracted leads and income from both the entire campaign and from single letter, etc.

Internal Metrics


The indicator reflects the number of delivered letters. The letter is considered delivered if there are no rejection messages from the server. Messages caught in spam or "Promotions" in Gmail are also considered delivered. Therefore, in addition to assessing the effectiveness of mailing, the Inbox Placement Rate (IPR) is considered to be the number of letters delivered to the Inbox folder. The average is 80%.

Improving deliverability rate:

• Removing non-working email addresses and attracting inactive ones.
• Fill in the sender's name and subject line.
• Exclusion of spam words ("urgent", "free")
• Compliance with the ratio: 80% of text and 20% of images. Add downloads as a link, not an attachment.
• Maintaining regularity of mailing.

Bounce Rate

The bounce rate measures the percentage of bounced emails. Such emails are returned with a refusal code: the address does not exist, the mailbox is full, the server is unavailable, etc. The optimal Bounce Rate is 2-5%. With regular mailings - not more than 0.5%.

There are two types of rejections (delivery errors):

1. Soft Bounce ("soft" or non-critical delivery errors) - letters were not delivered due to temporary problems. For example, an overflowing mailbox, a large letter size or a server crash. In this case, the letter will be delivered by the server within a few days or re-sent manually after a certain time.

2. Hard Bounce ("hard" or critical delivery errors) - letters sent to closed, non-working or non-existent addresses. Such messages will never be successfully delivered.

Poor bounce rates damage the sender's reputation. The critical error rate should not exceed 4-5%, otherwise you will be blocked.

Actions to reduce the bounce rate:

• Regular audit of the database and removal of addresses, with the delivery of which there are frequent problems.

• Confirmation of e-mail addresses through the requirement of "double registration" (Double Opt-In) to weed out uninterested users, bots and addresses with errors.

Open Rate

The metric assesses the relevance of the newsletter: offers that interest subscribers and a suitable sending schedule. The number of openings is counted only for emails with images. The letter is also considered open when the subscriber uses the mail preview pane. In case of repeated openings of the same letter, each one is counted. In this connection, it is recommended to track the indicator over time. Distinguish between unique (discoveries by an individual subscriber) and non-unique (all) discoveries. The rate varies depending on the area of the business and the type of letters. Basic level - 24%, for triggered mailings - 30-40%.

When comparing your own indicator with competitive ones, be guided by the average values for your industry and the frequency of mailings.

Based on repeated discoveries, segmented audience lists are compiled and individual e-mail campaigns that are developed for each group.

Ways to improve email openings:

• Creating catchy email subject lines (using A / B testing to find attractive headlines);
• Compliance with the frequency of mailing (do not send letters too often);
• Conducting surveys to identify subscribers' preferences in the content and frequency of mailing;
• Database segmentation.

Click-through rate (CTR)

The metric shows the percentage of clicks on links within an email. CTR gives an idea of the number of subscribers involved and the types of content they are interested in. CTR calculates both,all links and for each one separately. The CTR is lower than the Open Rate. The average click-through rate is over 4%.

To increase your CTR, add an attractive and visible call to action (CTA) button:

1. Make the CTA button brightly colored (visible but not overly annoying) and place it at the top of the letter.

2. Create an offer and use result-oriented verbs: buy, get, download, etc.

3. Use the ODC formula (Offer, Deadline, CTA - Offer, Deadline, Action) to motivate to action through a time limit.

CTR is also used to measure A / B testing results for email elements (text or CTA button color, link placement, etc.). When calculating the indicator, pay attention to what exactly subscribers clicked. Clicking on the unsubscribe link is considered a click, but does not confirm the effectiveness of the mailing.

Click to Open Rate (CTOR)

Is reflecting the percentage of unique openings, following a link within an email. CTOR is related to the quality of the content and the relevance of the email and landing page. A low click through rate (CTR) to open rate (CTOR) indicates that the content does not match subscribers' requests. The average metric is over 15%.

Requirements for improving CTOR:

• Compliance of the content of the letter with the specified subject.
• Compliance of the page content with the content of the letter and the CTA button.
• Relevance and personalization of offers (through segmentation and the use of triggers).

Keep your call to action short and clear. Place the main links above.

Please note that CTR and CTOR are calculated not only for desktop, but also for mobile devices.

Spam Complaint Rate (SCR)

The spam rating reflects on the percentage of messages marked as spam. Such an indicator does not always indicate that the mailing is really "spam". Some people cannot unsubscribe due to a lack of a link or other reasons and mark emails as spam so that they no longer receive them. Acceptable range is 0.03-0.09%. The number of complaints that exceeding 0.1% is a guarantee that you will be blocked.

Recommendations for avoiding spam complaints:

• Informing subscribers about the frequency of mailing and the nature of the content. Providing the ability to customize the schedule for receiving letters and topics of interest.
• Compliance with the regularity of mailing.
• Creation of engaging content.
• Segment subscribers to create personalized and relevant messages.
• Adding a link to unsubscribe with the ability to indicate reasons.

We recommend that you check the spam rating before sending emails, since if the mailing gets into spam, tracking all other indicators is useless.

Unsubscribe Rate

Unsubscribe rate is the percentage of people who unsubscribed from the mailing list. Not all users who are tired of the newsletter spend time opening a letter and unsubscribing. Most people tend to delete the message without viewing it or send it to spam. The indicator should not exceed 0.5–2%.

Despite the reduction in the list of addresses, thanks to unsubscriptions, the database is getting better. In this connection, the unsubscribe procedure should be made as simple and easy as possible. It's better to get an unsubscribe user rather than a spam complaint. A high unsubscribe rate (over 2%) indicates a problem.

Possible reasons for unsubscribing:

• Poorly assembled, purchased or leased base.
• Lack of segmentation and personalization of mailings.
• Neglecting of cleaning the database from inactive subscribers.
• Irrelevant content.
• High frequency of mailing.

Clarify possible unsubscribes by entering options in the unsubscribe form and studying them.

Measures to reduce the number of unsubscriptions:

• Periodic cleaning of the database from inactive, purchased and parsing contacts;
• Personalized approach (creating a relevant offer and mailing schedule for each segment);
• Compliance with the frequency of mailing;
• Testing of headers, content and design of letters, frequency and timing of mailings on small samples.

Spot trends in unsubscribe rates after changes are made to determine their effectiveness. For example, after segmentation or changing the email template.

Churn Rate

Shows the percentage of people who unsubscribed during a year or month. A figure of 5% is acceptable on a yearly basis, but is considered low on a monthly basis. Base growth must exceed churn.

Reducing Churn Rate:

• Conducting polls to study preferences and segment subscribers.
• Sending reactivation mailings to inactive subscribers.
• Inclusion of additional offers (indication of content preferences or reduction of frequency of mailing) on the unsubscribe page.

Ways to Improve Your Internal Email Marketing Metrics:

1. Collecting database of contacts by legal methods.
2. Confirmation of subscription through Double Opt-in.
3. Regular cleaning and updating of the database: getting rid of incorrect and outdated contacts, working with inactive subscribers (deleting or reactivating them).
4. Segmentation of the subscriber list and the use of triggered mailings, personalized schedule and frequency of sending letters.
5. Work on the quality and relevance of content.
6. Checking the layout of the letter and authentication settings.
7. Tracking the reputation of the IP address, domain and sender.
8. Providing the ability to quickly unsubscribe with a reason.

Engagement rate Analyzing subscriber interactions with emails is more granular and meaningful way rather than open rates. Engagement is measured by two dimensions:

• Interaction based on time and day

• Duration of interaction with content

Use special services to track the interaction of subscribers with the mailing list in order to develop the best schedule for sending emails. For example, Hubspot breaks down the email engagement time into categories (viewed, read). Understanding the length of interaction with content allows you to tailor the content of the emails to ensure maximum engagement.

Experiment with the dispatch schedule to get data on optimal engagement times.

Messaging Rate

The speed of your emails exchange between the subscriber and his contacts is also valuable information:

• determines the degree of attractiveness of the content;

• allows you to expand your coverage.

Forwarding tracking provides an opportunity to replenish the subscriber list with contacts who are predisposed to receive and read your mailings. Special services, for example, Mailchimp, allow you to include a "Share" button or a link in the letter template and receive information about the number of messages forwarded. Note that the metric does not provide a complete picture. Forwarding does not include users copying and pasting links to you in their own emails.

External Metrics

Lead Acquisition Cost (LAC)

The cost of all marketing efforts aimed at attracting a subscriber.


Conversion rate is the percentage of subscribers who completed the target action after or at the time of clicking on the link in the letter. Possible target actions: switching to a landing page, purchasing a product, registering, etc.

To measure conversion, integrate the email platform with the web analytics system. Track sources of referrals via utm tags. When analyzing the indicator, take into account the quality of traffic, income and average check. The value of a channel is determined by its role in the conversion. Macro conversion is a targeted user action. For example, purchasing a product. Microconversion is an intermediate action on the way to the target. For auxiliary channels (micro conversions), the conversion is considered as associated.

Conversion Improvement Methods:

• Segmentation of the database by demographic and psychographic characteristics, purchase history.

• Triggered mailings.

Return on investment (ROI)

Shows the overall return on investment in email campaigns. Increase ROI through segmentation, trigger mailings, A / B testing.

Revenue per Email (RPE)

RPE is an alternative to ROI that measures the income from each letter.

Subscriber value (SLV - Subscriber Lifetime Value)

Subscriber Value - Income from the subscriber during the lifetime of their subscription.

To improve the indicator, a number of the following measures are envisaged:

• Tracking rates of unsubscription and bounce.
• Reactivation or removal of an inactive part of the base.
• Using trigger mailings.

Subscriber list growth rate

Follow the dynamics of the base growth, update the subscriber data. Interests, lifestyle, contact addresses are changing. To maintain efficiency, you need to fill the gaps and tailor your mailing list.

Growing your list expands your reach and increases the likelihood of subscribers interacting with emails. Track growth points to determine the source of your success. Perhaps the new audience is receptive to content, or growth is correlated with marketing through other channels.

Knowledge of metrics and the principles of working with them (calculation and influencing factors) will allow you to evaluate the effectiveness at each stage and direct the campaign to achieve the goals. If the development of e-mail newsletters, the determination of the exact KPIs and their calculation cause you difficulties or take too much time, please contact us! We will speed up the process and do everything for you.

Comments are closed.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap