The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing Metrics

Written by Yagmur Nur Dolek

Email marketing is still one of the best ways of keeping in touch with potential and current customers. Moreover, it’s a great way to nurture leads and move them through your growth funnel closer to your overall business goal.

In order to measure the success of your email marketing strategy, you need to track* and analyze the right indicators according to your key business objectives

*Before you track your email marketing performance, make sure you have a strong foundation. In order to build and execute an effective email marketing strategy, first, you need to outline your goals according to many factors. Here’s our Email Marketing Planning Guide for you to learn how to create an email marketing plan, the main email types, and some tactics for you to use in your email marketing activities. Moreover, here’s our tool for Email Marketing Planning for you to practice and exercise on how to create new plans and track them. 

Here are a few ways to measure your email strategy’s efficiency and how to interpret the most important email tracking metrics:

1. Open Rate

Open rate is the percentage of the total number of recipients/subscribers who opened your email campaign. Comparing your campaign’s open rate to your industry’s average open rate is important to really understand where you’re at. Whatever your industry is, it is considered to be a high open-rate if it’s above 15%.

“My open rate is too low,” is a common misconception. Take a look at the open rate for your industry. If your open rate is close, you’re doing great!

There are some growth tactics that will help you improve your open rates:

  • Change the subject line of your campaign to bring out the power of your content. It should be a clear statement to create engagement with your audience. It can be a question that your subscribers might have in mind, the news they’ve been waiting for,  or the solution that you provide. 

  • Be sure you segment the audience according to their interests, demographics, or their stage on the sales funnel. No matter how strong your email subject is, if your email open rates are low, it’s likely because you haven’t sent the right message to the right user.
  • Choose the best time to send emails according to all segments of your email lists. Be aware that your audiences’ engagement may differ according to their preferences.

2. CTR (Click-Through Rate)

Click through rates show whether your audience is engaged with your content and ready to take action. It’s the is the percentage of people who clicked on at least one link in your email. This link can be anything from a blog post to a product offer.

Placing links in the right places like images, highlighted texts, eye-catching call-to-action buttons, and social media buttons plays an important role in CTR. These tactics help you reach your goals by leading the customer to a designated landing page, allowing you to give them even more information and drive traffic for you.

CTR is also dramatically lower than open rates because it depends on your industry, business size, and the type of campaign – not all campaigns give users the motivation to click to another page.

If the campaign CTR is lower than 5%, do not worry. Check the industry average CTR to make sure whether you’re on the right track or off the charts.

“Much like with open rates, what you should consider a good click-through rate is rather individual. Get Response

With this in mind, here are some tips to optimize your email campaigns and get more clicks:

  • Carry out A/B tests to sort out what attracts your audience more (in terms of subject, email text length, colours, image placements, email structure, etc.).

  • Send personalized emails to each recipient. For example, “Hi, [FirstName] [LastName]!”. By personalizing your emails, you’ll give them a unique experience for them, which will help increase open rates, clicks, and ultimately conversions.
  • Keep your content short to give the right message in a single glance. Recipients can find what they want easily when you present the content to them with a clear statement. 
  • Use an eye-catching CTA button to encourage email recipients to click. This should have a clear message about what they can expect when they click the button.

3. CTOR (Click-to-Open Rate)

The click-to-open rate shows how many people who opened your email clicked on a link in that email

Note that the CTOR should not be mistaken with CTR. CTR tells you the number of people who clicked on any links. The click-to-open rate is the ratio between the number of email opens and the number of clicks. It is the most appropriate way of analyzing how relevant your messages to your audience are. You should track the CTOR of your email campaigns to measure the effectiveness of your email’s content

4. Unsubscribe Rate

Unsubscribe rate is the percentage of people that opted-out of your email list. It is calculated by dividing the number of unsubscribers by the number of recipients. 

Unsubscribe rates should be tracked based on each campaign in order to measure trends and figure out how you can optimize your email marketing campaigns successfully. This rate should be low, especially because people are not willing to go through the process of unsubscribing unless they don’t really want to get your emails anymore.

Most experts agree that anything below 0.05%  is usually acceptable. But if you find that your unsubscribe rate is any higher than 0.05%, it’s cause for concern.- Sleeknote

The tactics here depends on the behaviour of your subscribers and how your audience reacts to your various campaigns. You should:

Keep in mind that you may not always need to step up your game. Sometimes it’s better for irrelevant people to unsubscribe from your list so that you can focus on relevant subscribers.

As we mentioned above, it is not enough to track the unsubscribe rate to measure the number of subscribers who opt-out. This is because people who do not want to get the emails may not choose to click unsubscribe, but instead, they may just delete the emails. That’s why it may be more effective in some cases to measure unengaged subscribers by click-through rates and remove unrelated subscribers from your email list.

5. Deliverability Rate

The success of your email campaigns depends on many things. Here is another metric to make sure that the deliverability rate of your campaigns into the recipients’ inboxes is acceptable. 

You need to be sure that the email address you are using is not blocked by spam filters. But if that’s the case, you need to know how to handle the situation. You can simply check your spam score with Mail Tester.

While analyzing the possible reasons why your address is blocked, you can,

  • Consider your IP address’ reputation and its credibility,
  • Change the subject lines of your emails as well as the sending frequency to build reliability, 
  • Check out your previous mail content. Emails with too many links and images can be counted as spam, 
  • Update your subscriber list by removing bounced, irrelevant, and unsubscribed subscribers. This will increase your sender reputation and list quality, while purchased lists decrease the list quality. 

*Bounce addresses significantly reduce the deliverability rate so you need to check both soft and hard bounces. 

Some of the recipients may mark your emails as spam. So, check the number of spam complaints in order to prevent any decrease in the deliverability rate. If the complaint rate – calculated by dividing the number of report spam clicks by the number of recipients – is over 2%, check firstly the industry averages and then search for the reasons why your audience is marking your emails as spam. 

  • Be sure that all contacts in your email lists know you.  Give a clear sender name so that they recognize you.
  • Place a visible unsubscribe option into your email content.

6. Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is the percentage of subscribers who complete a goal action that depends on your conversion goal. The conversion goal can be about lead generation, customer acquisition, engagement, customer retention, website traffic, lead nurturing, or sales. 

In order to measure your conversion rate, you should integrate the emailing platform that you use with Google Analytics.

In order to create an effective email campaign with higher conversion rates, follow a few basic steps:

  • Identify the conversion goal of your emailing campaign
  • Work on effective and personalized subject lines to improve your open rate
  • Use simple and explicit call-to-action to conversion rates
  • Don’t forget to track and measure conversion rates and optimize

Although there are lots of metrics that can be tracked to measure the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy, it is not such a complicated process. Start tracking performance with the fundamental metrics we highlighted and determine which metrics you need to pay the most attention to in order to build a sustainable growth-driven email marketing strategy.

Bonus: Email Marketing Tactics

Last but not least, here’s a wide range of Email Marketing tactics we have prepared for you to implement your growth marketing activities. You can choose the tactics according to your main goals (Brand awareness + traffic generation, conversion, and retention) as well as the difficulty level (beginner, intermediate, advanced).

Related Content:

Growth Marketing Planning Guides – Email Marketing Planning: Learn how to create an email marketing plan step-by-step.

Growth Marketing Planning Tools – Email Marketing Planning: Practice how to create an email marketing plan and execute your plan with our easy-to-use tool.